“Joining the UPO family has made things easier. They share a lot of information and resources that I would have never known about.”

In the earlier part of the year, Ilsia Santamaria began looking for ways to become more involved in the education of her three young children. A friend told her that UPO’s Office of Early Learning offered great services for children aged 0-5 and their families. Ilsia was excited to hear that there was an organization in the DC area that could meet her needs and called UPO the next day! By spring, she and her family were actively engaged and benefiting from UPO’s team of trained education professionals!

Her two oldest children are currently enrolled in UPO’s nationally-recognized Early Head Start and Pre-K programs, and her youngest child participates in our home-based early learning program.

“When I first started learning about the programs it was different because I didn’t have one resource that helped me and my children.”

Our Early Head Start programs provide infants and toddlers with the tools needed to develop their social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills-steering them in the direction of happiness and success! In collaboration with our early education partners, the Pre-K programs place parents at the center of all school readiness efforts, including preparation for the kindergarten entry assessment (KEA) process. UPO’s bi-lingual home-based program, taught in Spanish and English, are assigned Family Engagement Specialists who work with parents in the home to provide support services and gauge progress for pregnant moms and families with young children.

Families enrolled in our early learning programs also have access to the full range of DC-based support services that we provide to low income DC residents including employment training and placement, youth services, housing counseling, and financial literacy.

Through UPO’s “wrap-around” approach Ilsia has been able to join a community of parents and benefit from the assistance of UPO staff.

“My home-based supervisor has given me a lot of support. He shares resources for diapers, wipes and other things my family needs.”

After only a few months in the program, Ilsia joined the Parent Policy Council! Comprised of parents and representatives from the community, their purpose is to actively participate in the decision-making process designed to enhance and improve UPO’s early learning programs.

Ilsia’s involvement in the home-based program and The Parent Policy Council allow her to be actively engaged in the education of all three of her children!

UPO is committed to the development of DC’s youngest minds and their families. Ilsia’s devotion to her children’s lives will continue to be met with enthusiasm and support from her UPO family! #SheIsUPO #MoveToEducation #MoveToEmpowerment