Pepperney has seen these success stories occur over and over at Head Start, which has a substantial number of former clients working as service providers.
“We help parents realize they can set goals and go back to school,” says Gloria King, a Head Start family services coordinator. “We share our lives with them and help them realize they can do it.”
Patriarco feels there is an unfair stereotyping of the county’s poor families that often leads to resentment.
“What I see happening is everybody gets lumped together,” she says. “Someone has a bad experience with someone who is low-income, and then everybody who is low-income is labeled, even though you did absolutely nothing to give that person that impression.”
“Nobody starts out thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to be low income?’ Nobody starts there,” Pepperney says. “But things happen, and it just becomes very difficult to get out.”