Daniel Jaime is the Center Director for La Familia Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Center in Florida. This is his experience working with media.
On Feb. 18, I received a phone call from John Sarmiento, a news anchor for Telemundo Tampa. Mr. Sarmiento called me because he had heard from a community partner about the wonderful services ECMHSP’s La Familia Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Center provides in Dundee, Florida, and surrounding areas. He wanted to see if he could come to the center and interview a few farmworker parents who have benefited from the services that we provided and how they felt it would benefit other families in the community.
The next day at around noon, Mr. Sarmiento arrived with his camera crew. We had two farmworker parents who were willing to provide a brief testimony of the services that they had and were receiving. During his visit, Mr. Sarmiento toured the center and was able to see all of the staff and children in action. “It’s just remarkable,” he said. He couldn’t believe how nice the classrooms were set up and the attention that was being given to the children. Once he finished touring the center, Mr. Sarmiento began to interview the parents.
The parents were nervous at first because they were going to be on television; but once they got into the interview, you could see the passion in their eyes and the words coming directly from their heart. The parents did a tremendous job representing East Coast Migrant Head Start Project and describing the services that they have received. When asked if they thought that other families would benefit from these types of services, they did not hesitate to say, “It’s a wonderful program. Who wouldn’t want their children in a center like this?”
In my interview with Mr. Sarmiento, he wanted me to talk about all of the services that we provide, what our services areas are, as well as if there are other centers like us in the area or elsewhere. I provided information about what services East Coast Migrant Head Start Project provides and how a family could potentially qualify. I also informed Mr. Sarmiento about some of the struggles that our families have and how it has been impacting our enrollment numbers, not only at our center, but at other centers along the East Coast as well. Some of those impacts include: the influx of H2A workers in the community; families settling out and deciding not to travel; and local and national immigration laws that make it harder for families to travel from one state to another comfortably.
The story was aired locally on Feb. 24 during the Telemundo Tampa newscast and shared through the news station’s social media. The story can be viewed here. Now that the Tampa community has seen the story, hopefully we can have an influx of families, community stakeholders, and people who are willing to seek employment with East Coast Migrant Head Start Project.