Denisha Platt

I’m so happy that my son is attending Head Start in Bushnell, Fl. When he started he was smart but during the school year he has developed further. They showed me that being a part of my son’s schooling was important and meaningful. The experience is so positive. Ms. Carlina Lindo helped me from day one, since Shaun and I walked through the door. The staff comes together and brings you with them, I felt so loved & welcomed. It was good to know someone loved my son as much as I did. It’s good to have participation from staff, but to see the parents coming together as well was amazing. I am so proud of the parents as well as staff because they have their lives too, but to come and put your children first is great.

Some of the parents who have encouraged me are Jemyra Everett and Victoria Uribe. Jemyra showed me that every little bit counts. Seeing her and Jenesis Lane so positive every day, hearing the great stories about Ms. Tammy and the staff are great. Ms. Uribe is pregnant and still making it to parent meetings and other meetings that we don’t know about. Just having that positiveness around you, makes you want to do better.

I ‘m excited for the next meeting to see what’s new to learn. What I didn’t know that could help me be a better parent. I love the whole experience and I’m grateful that the Lord blessed me with everyone who has been involved in my son’s educational development.


 Heloise Gibbons

My name is Heloise Gibbons and I am employed as a teacher at Bushnell Head start. I became employed with Mid Florida Head Start Program in 2005. I started as a teacher assistant at a center in Wildwood (Sumter County). I transferred to Bushnell in 2012 as a teacher assistant.

My favorite parts of my job include the ability to work independently and the people I work with. It is a great feeling to work with people that care about the company and commit to doing a good job. Teaching is a great job because every day I feel successful in that I have had some influence on the future through teaching a young child.

I would like to thank my co-workers at the Bushnell Head Start center for their support and encouragement when I transferred into a teacher position.

I look forward to many more years working with the children, families, and staff of Mid Florida Community Services- Head Start program.


Juvenal began the 2015-16 school year with severe dental decay, 13 teeth out of 20 had severe issues and needed to be restored. He was also facing the possibility of losing his 4 front teeth.  Since he did not have insurance, the Family Advocates helped Juvenal's family complete all of the paperwork for Medicaid. Once the child was approved for Medicaid, they and the Oral Health Services Coordinator, scheduled Juvenal's pre-operative exam for oral surgery. The surgeon, Dr. Elmore, completed the pre-oerative exam, identified his needs and felt confident that she could address them all. She was able to restore all 13 teeth! Working together with the family as a team, our Family Advocates and Health Team were able to provide a successful outcome for Juvenal who is happy and thriving in the classroom with a great smile!


Trevor was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Volusia County Schools, which recommended his immediate transition to the Full Day Mild Varying Exceptionalities class.  But Trevor had made so much progress while enrolled in Head Start - he was speaking in 2-3 word sentences.  Head Start teachers and staff refuse to give up on a child's potential to be their best!


Meet Jaiella who attends MFCS' Head Start at the Coleman Center in Volusia County. After recently failing Head Start's vision screening, our Medical Services' Coordinator assisted the family in scheduling an appointment with the local optometrist. The result? Jaiella received her first pair of eyeglasses at no cost!


The HEAD START to my success ... By Krista Callahan

My experiences with Head Start began in 1977 as a three year old little girl residing with in Pennsylvania, in a trailer that was falling apart with my younger sisters, my mom and my father; who was an abusive alcoholic.  My mother enrolled me in Head Start after being recruited by Head Start staff at our home. so my mother jumped at the opportunity to send me somewhere for a few hours a day where I would be safe. Head Start saved my family, as my mother would enroll all of her children into the program over the next few years and eventually taker her children and herself out of our abusive home and return to school to become a Head Start teacher. I grew up knowing how much the program helped families in need and watched as my mother’s confidence in herself returned. Her passion to giving back to the program that gave her and her children so much was evident as she eventually became an Early Childhood Professor, while still serving on the Head Start Board; which she continues to do today. I too, shared in her passion and enrolled my own child in the program when she became of age, went to college to earn my AA in Early Childhood and became an assistant in a Head Start classroom

In 2012, I moved to Florida seeking employment and found an opening at Mid Florida Community Services Head Start as a center aide. While it wasn’t the teaching job I was hoping for, I was assured by the Education Manager at the time; Amy Thomas, that once I became employed with the agency, other job opportunities would open up and I could apply. I worked for a year and a half as a center aid and an opening for a teaching assistant opened up. I was so excited when I applied for the position and was accepted! From there, Mid Florida Community Services Head Start helped me go back to school and obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and in 2014 I became a lead teacher in a Head Start classroom. I love Head Start and all it stands for and want to serve families and children as much as I can. In the summer of 2017, I accepted the position of a Child Development Specialist. This position allows me to impact the lives of multiple families as I supervise seven classrooms in both Head Start and Early Head Start. I am forever thankful to Head Start for giving me my start and to Mid Florida Community Services Head Start for their continued support and contributions to my success that I may share it with others!

My mother’s personal story can be found at https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/story/dr-glenna-zeak



My name is Michael Davis and I am employed as the Family Engagement Coordinator for Volusia County Head Start & Early Head Start with Mid Florida Community Services. I was an Electrical Contractor for 22+ years. At the age of 42 I had a son. When he turned 3 years old and started preschool, I started volunteering in his classroom. I found my passion. I realized I thoroughly enjoyed working with children. I started taking DCF classes and fell in love with school. I enrolled in a CDA program and completed the courses and earned my certificate. I started teaching VPK in the private sector. I then decided to get my Directors Credential and went to school and obtained it along with the VPK endorsement. In 2009 I decided to go to college. I enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at Daytona State College. In 2012, I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education at the age of 54. (You are never too old to pursue your passion) I knew Heidi Rand (our Director) from previous experience at private preschool. (Heidi is the one who encouraged me to pursue my passion and offered me my first teaching job). I spoke with her after I graduated college, and she encouraged me to apply at Head Start. The only position available at the time was as a part time extended day teacher in Daytona Beach. I was living in Deland at the time. Heidi told me to just get my foot in the door….and opportunities would arise. I went for it. I started with Mid Florida Community Services in October of 2012. During the summer of 2013 (as I was off for summer break) one of the CDS’s called me and asked if I was interested in a full-time job as a teacher’s assistant in Deland. I accepted the position. When the new school year started, I went to work in our WVEC location. A few months into the school year, the position opened for a Male Involvement Coordinator. The F&CP manager approached me about the position, but I was hesitant. I enjoyed being in the classroom. Heidi came to me and asked me about my hesitation. I explained to her that I really enjoyed being in the classroom with the children. She said…(”just think…..instead of having 1 classroom….you will have 17”) I was sold and accepted the position. When I started, my title was changed to Family Engagement Coordinator. I started out covering the East side of the county with 7 centers. This past year I was given the whole county with 17 centers. I enjoy working with all the children and families. It is a joy and a pleasure to be able to get the parents and children engaged together. I love watching their progress throughout the year. I love my job and look forward to many more years with Mid Florida Community Services.