Thriving In Early Head Start: Donovan’s Story

You might remember a very cute young boy stealing the show at RI Strolling Thunder 2023 by spontaneously grabbing a toy microphone and joining Governor McKee and other leaders to offer his “remarks.” Here’s Donovan’s story of thriving in Early Head Start. THIS is why the General Assembly needs to increase state funding to keep all RI Pre-K, Head Start, and Early Head Start classrooms open in Rhode Island!

Providence mom Heaven Barbour has all three of her young children in Early Head Start with Children’s Friend (King Street center) and is very appreciative of the education and supports the family has received.

Donovan is two years old (3 in July). His younger twin brothers, Deaven and D’Shawn, (11 month) joined Donovan in the program three months ago. “An Early Head Start nurse, Ariona, came about once a week to check in on the boys right after they were born and helped me and their dad make sure all learning, development and health needs where met, as they were premature. She then helped me get them into a center-based services.”

Donovan was originally referred to Children’s Friend from his early intervention (EI) provider at Gordon, where he was getting occupational therapy and speech language services. He continues to get EI services during the day during his Early Head Start program.

“I am very happy with our experience with Early Head Start. I love that my boys are learning and happy. The staff are very attentive and let me know if there are any concerns with the boys. They have helped with potty training and encouraging Donovan to eat more diverse foods. Donovan is thriving and loves school. He loves a schedule. They have also had staff come into their home to help make sure things are running smoothly.

“I am attending school to become a Medical Assistance while the children are at EHS. The boys’ dad and I alternate our work schedules to be able to care for the boys when they are not at Children’s Friend and we are so grateful that the Early Head Start program runs all year so we don’t have to find alternate arrangements in the summer.

I really hope that the General Assembly invests in the Early Head Start program so that our family and others can continue to benefit from the wonderful program.”