April 06, 2020

SIU Head Start program employees earn statewide awards

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Two members of the SIU Carbondale Head Start program recently earned statewide honors for their efforts. 

Joyce Guy, the program’s family and partnerships coordinator, was selected the Illinois Head Start Association’s Support Staff of the Year. Chrisden Marshall, the center director/lead teacher at the John A. Logan location, was selected the organization’s Teacher of the Year. They received their awards during the association’s annual banquet last month at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. 

“I’m ecstatic to see the contributions of these two individuals recognized at the state level,” Lea Maue, SIU Carbondale Head Start program director, said. “I’m also proud of the difference Head Start makes for families and communities and Joyce and Chrisden have contributed significantly to that difference.” 

Maue said the awards were based on: 

  • Length of service in the program.
  • Training, qualifications, and credentials.
  • Mobilization of resources and collaboration.
  • Quality and provision of services.
  • Special contributions. 

Singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ in no time 

Joyce-Guy---Picture-for-IHSA-sm.jpgGuy, from Carbondale, has been with the program since October 1994. She recalls being encouraged to visit one of the centers as a volunteer. 

“I had so much fun with the children reading stories, being involved in curriculum-based activities, playing on the playground, riding buses and so much more,” Guy said. “The children had me singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ in no time.” 

Guy said she was inspired to apply for an extra help position to join the team. She has developed lasting relationships through the years and shares her passion for the program with others. 

Getting to see children grow 

chrisden-marshall-sm.jpgMarshall has worked with the program since September 2011.  Like Guy, she is also thankful, humbled by the award and said that she feels more confident in her work. 

Marshall said Head Start is special for her because of the work for the families and children. 

“I get to see how much the children grow throughout the school year,” said Marshall, who was a Head Start parent and saw first-hand the program’s success. 

A team effort 

Guy added that the Head Start staff is equally worthy of the award, adding she could not have accomplished anything without her co-workers. 

“Our program has so many great staff who works tirelessly to provide services to our children and families,” she said. “We work together as a team and without having a great supportive team, little can be accomplished.” 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary

Nationally respected for its success the SIU Carbondale Head Start program is celebrating its 50th year in 2020 and is one of only a few university-related Head Start organizations in the country. The program focuses on meeting the social, intellectual, emotional and physical needs of preschool children from income-eligible families. The national Head Start program got its start in the summer of 1965.  

The program is now serving 353 children ages three to five attend Head Start centers in Carbondale, Carterville, Marion and Murphysboro. Head Start centers are at 1900 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale; John A. Logan College in Carterville; 907 N. Vicksburg, Marion, and McElvain Center, 593 Ava Road, Murphysboro. 

SIU’s Head Start program is closed through April 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has a “Healthy at Home” tool kit that shows activities available for children.