January 14, 2020
Engaging and Supporting the Mixtec Community at Haycox CDC
By Valerie Kelly
Each of our centers is unique, working to serve and partner with their communities through challenges and triumphs. We were so pleased to have a chance to chat with Program Director, Adriana R. and Ms. Cecilia’s team over at over Haycox CDC in Oxnard, CA to learn about the amazing things the center is doing to help their families and meet the needs of the community.
Haycox School District is one of the largest in the Ventura County, housing over 1000 children and 9 Kinder classes. At CDC, it is our goal and mission to build relationships by working to best serve our students and families. The team at Haycox CDC reinforced that relationship building with the families is crucial to success in developing trust, caring for our students and working to sustain a functional partnership.
Mixtec is the primary language for many of the families at Haycox CDC, which does not have a written language, only spoken. The Mixtec population comes from the hills of Mexico and arrive as migrants. Living in poverty, the children often arrive at CDC speaking only Spanish. The staff at Haycox CDC, however, see this as an opportunity for themselves and their students.
The first avenue in teaching children how to read is learning to communicate through art in written and verbal form. The children then learn how to tell stories with pictures. Telling stories not only helps them develop language, but also encourages time spent with families during parent/child time. Ms. Myecia mentioned that she even learned Spanish to better communicate and foster the relationship she has with the children. By their second year at the center, the children are learning to speak English.
Haycox CDC believes it’s crucial to bring the culture of their homelife to the center to bring kids a sense of comfort and familiarity. At home, babies are often carried in wraps, which the kids also use in the classroom and by Preschool, the children already know how to properly wrap the babies. Additionally, staff use food and meal time to bring a sense of comfort and home life into the center.
Parent/child time is offered twice a day, providing flexibility to families, which are primarily migrant families, an opportunity to attend. Classes are tailored to the needs of families and are held in the midafternoon and evening. In prior years, it had been typical for entire families to migrate, but now the family stays behind while the father migrates across CA.
Despite the challenges of the community, which the team expressed can be worrisome at times, Adriana expressed her amazement with the staff in their ability to work through things by problem solving. Some days that means ending Parent/child time a half hour earlier so families aren’t walking home in the dark.
Additionally, Haycox CDC works with Help Is Life, an organization that helps communicate important needs for families in efforts to provide pertinent info by text with necessities and essentials like doctors or centers.
When asking staff what keeps them motivated each day, several mentioned that their love for the kids get them up and excited each day. Many children enjoy being at the center so much that at the end of the day they don’t want to go. Haycox CDC is a safe space for the kids and their families, where someone will listen and take time to care for their family’s needs.
Seeing the children’s faces light up or earning a heartfelt “Thank you for everything”, at the end of the day from the families makes all the difference in the world.