Success Stories Awarded
Shereen and Lennon Beckles moved to York, Pennsylvania from Arkansas with their six children: Shania, Shamar, Tyleek, Troy, Layla, and Liyah. Shereen was working as a Unit Secretary for Wellspan Hospital in York when she heard about Community Progress Council (CPC) in 2015.
When her son, Troy, was four she was looking for an early education program where she could send him to help build his social skills. When she came to her intake appointment at Early Head Start/Head Start, she enrolled Troy and Layla in the Head Start classroom at CPC’s Cathy’s Cottage which serves infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children.
As part of the comprehensive services offered by CPC’s Head Start Program, Troy and Layla were provided with health and educational screenings while Shereen and Family Engagement Specialist, Jadira Morales, worked together to identify her family’s strengths and goals for the future. Shereen’s main goal was to make sure her youngest children’s development was on track. Through the education screenings at Head Start, Layla was found to have a speech delay, and was referred to the Lincoln Intermediate Unit through the Head Start Disabilities department in 2016. Layla received speech services while attending the Head Start program.
Shereen and Lennon’s children range in ages from 1 to 18. The siblings look out for one another and help mom and dad out as well. To share the responsibilities of caring for their six children, Shereen worked night shift, and Lennon worked second shift. During the day and on the weekend, Shereen focused on schooling and graduated in December 2017 with her degree in Human Services. Shereen works as a Family Advocate for Catholic Charities in York. Once Shereen obtained a higher wage, she was no longer eligible for medical assistance and SNAP.
Not having any family in the area, Community Progress Council became Shereen’s extended village. “Almost every resource I could find here, and I think that’s very important for our community.” Shereen credits her ability to focus on school while juggling responsibilities to the Head Start program. “I knew when they were here, they were safe. It helped me to manage the rest of my life.”
Shereen and Jadira have developed a great relationship. Shereen often refers people to the programs offered by CPC. Shereen’s youngest daughter, Liyah, is currently enrolled in the Young Toddler room, and Jadira continues to serve the family as their Engagement Specialist. Shereen looks forward to continuing their relationship. “She’s my best support. I don’t know how I found her, but I’m thankful I did,” Jadira celebrates Shereen’s accomplishments and recognizes her incredible determination, motivation, and energy.
“Self-Sufficiency is providing for my family with enough that they can still be comfortable. It’s being able to pay my bills and still provide for my kids … No matter what adversity faced us, what struggle we are dealing with, we always face it together.”