Kim Amoroso is delighted with the services she and her son, Robert, have received through St. Jerome’s Head Start program.

After Kim Amoroso prepares her four-year-old son Robert for the Head Start Program, she usually accompanies him three to four days of the week.

Dividing her time between volunteering in the office and in her son’s classroom, the service is this mother’s way of showing her appreciation for the help her family has received through the early childhood education program for low-income families.

When Robert was enrolled in September, he didn’t speak clearly enough to be understood and Amoroso harbored the fear that she would never be able to communicate with her son. In addition, his premature birth had caused delayed development of his motor skills.

At the program, Robert’s cognitive skills were assessed and speech therapy class was started.  “I saw the progress that he was making with the therapy, but before I could ask they had increased his weekly session to twice a week,” she says. “I came from the bottom of a very bad place to a very good place.” To ensure Robert’s continued progress, he is enrolled in the summer program.

To illustrate how far her son has come, Amoroso recalls a day when he even corrected her pronunciation of a classmate’s name. “I can understand everything he says now. Seeing him interact with other kids and naming all his friends makes me so happy. Plus he’s the happiest little boy you would ever see,” she says smiling.

Amoroso has also acquired skills through the program, receiving on-the-job training for the clerical skills she now possesses. “My work experience is in retail but now I’d love to get a clerical support job,” she says.

The volunteer credit that Amoroso earns came in handy when her husband was laid off from work during the Christmas season. The family redeemed her credit hours to get clothing and toys from the annual gift drive held at the program.

Her endorsement of the education program was shared on two occasions when she spoke in Annapolis before legislators. “I told them how much this program has helped my family and to please continue to provide funding because it’s needed in the community,” she says. She also credits the program with teaching her how to advocate for her children.

She says, “I’ll probably still come to Head Start even when my son’s no longer enrolled.”
Catholic Charities Head Start of Baltimore City