Provider Spotlight – Kelly is a provider from Southwest Missouri who is also active in her community!

Kelly is a provider in Southwest Missouri and also a mother and a grandmother who believes that advocating for the needs of all families with children from birth through age five is extremely important. Kelly has a passion for early Head Start and is an active member in her community as well as our fellowship program. Kelly brings experience and passion to our provider and parent fellowship, and we are blessed to know her. Read more about Kelly below!

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education?

I started my journey as a teacher at an Early Head Start partner site. The partner site was a child care provider for the public and for women seeking shelter from domestic violence. Working with both organizations gave me a deep understanding of the roadblocks that parents face when trying to move forward in life. I also learned the struggles that educators face when providing quality care.

Why do you think it’s important to be an advocate as a provider?

I believe as a provider, we play an important role in helping parents become advocates for themselves, their children, and their community. As a provider, we lead by example. In Head Start a piece of the positive outcome framework is ‘Families as Advocates and Leaders’. This is a crucial piece of the holistic approach because it encourages parents to participate in their child’s education, well-being, and success long after they start Kindergarten.

Why should Missouri invest more in child care and early education?

90% of brain development happens in the first 5 years of a child’s life. Safe, affordable, quality childcare is not a luxury. It is a necessity for future generations.

In one sentence, what does the ideal child care and early education system look like for Missouri families?

Child care and early education in Missouri should be a partnership between the parent and educator, free of roadblocks that hinder accessibility and quality.

What is one thing you’ve learned about advocacy that you’d like to share with others?

One voice is enough when given the right tools. You don’t need money, power, or status to be important.

Any additional comments?

Thank you for this opportunity to grow and acquire the tools needed to advocate successfully.

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