feel so good about what Head Start does for kids. And with eleven
kids of my own, I’m awfully happy there is such a program.”
fourth for the rest of his life, Rafael Pacheco is going to give
thanks for this life and the eleven kids who call him Poppa. “It
was on Labor Day when I took six of my kids, along with some other
families, out on a 28-foot boat to go fishing. But we got hit
by a couple of huge waves,” he recalls. “The boat capsized
and we were stuck out there for five hours. We screamed, but there
was no one to hear. My friend’s two year old was lost, and
in another couple of hours, I’d have lost my children too.
But what all that did for me,” continues Rafael, “was
to make me even more dedicated to my kids: they always come first.”
But it’s not only his own children that Rafael has made priority
been involved with the Head Start program for a long time, and
now I’m the chairperson of the Policy Council for all of
LA County,” says Rafael.
involved in making recommendations for this huge federal program.
We evaluate health, education, disabilities, and all sorts of
other issues. And then we make recommendations about hiring all
the right people for Head Start programs. I’ve had a baby
and my twins in Head Start, and I can’t tell you how important
this is for parents. It allows us to go out and find jobs, and
gives us all a chance to move onward and upward.”
and upward is what Rafael has been doing since taking part in
a unique SMC-LA County Office of Education partnership program.
“I’ve been in all these workshops here that have taught
me how to deliver education to children,” says Rafael, who
plans to make a career in computer animation. “When I think
of school, it brings back memories of my own childhood. It makes
me want to make sure that no child ever leaves school, until they’ve
had every chance to do well.”