Published by Lorain County Community Action Agency

Alicia Rush is grateful for Head Start’s whole family approach; it’s helping her to provide a better life for her son.

Avion has been a student in LCCAA’s home-based program for two years receiving weekly visits from Sabrina “Miss Ellen” Osborne. But those visits were equally important for Alicia, who was mourning her mother.

“I was really distressed,” she said. “I was kind of losing my hope and faith. Miss Ellen was really a big, huge cheerleader for me.”

Osborne said Alicia would cancel visits when their relationship began. By working with her using the Growing Great Families curriculum, Osborne encouraged Alicia to make goals and set routines.

“She worked on getting a job and found one she really enjoys,” Osborne said. “On our last visit, she informed me that she applied for an STNA class.”

Alicia and a friend will be carpooling to classes at Heart to Heart in Cleveland working toward their State Tested Nursing Assistant credential. Meanwhile, she works as an aid at Danbury Senior Living in North Ridgeville.

“My mom was my very first patient,” Alicia said, adding that she loves working with the residents. “Not everybody can handle this job.”

Her duties include feeding, dressing and otherwise assisting residents with limited abilities. She enjoys connecting with the residents and believes the work is what she is meant to do.

“I just like to make people feel better,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot. I know my role in life is to serve people in some way.”

In addition to setting goals that gave her purpose, Osborne helped Alicia be a better parent while also educating Avion who heads to kindergarten this fall.

“He’s come a long way. He picked up a lot more than I thought he would. He really loves reading,” Alicia said, adding that Osborne also helped her work through her son’s emotions as well as her own.

She called Osborne “an angel” for all the encouragement and resources she provided. She was especially encouraged to accept her own limitations.

“You want to come through for your kid,” Alicia said. “Miss Ellen taught me I’m going to make mistakes and it’s still going to be okay.”

Alicia’s next goal is relocating to a larger and better located apartment.

“This is a true success for her,” Osborne said. “From the beginning her confidence was low, but now I see a confident young lady with goals and ambition for herself and her child.”