My name is Elizabeth (Beth) Woodrum. I got involved in Head Start seven years ago. At that time, my life was a mess. I was a single mother with a three year old son and a baby due any time. I was also still grieving the loss of my first son who passed away four years before.
I was a recovering addict, still trying to get away from my drug addict friends. I have been clean for 10 years now. I didn’t know how to be a mother. And yet that was the only thing I wanted in my life … to be a good mother, to give my kids the best and show them they can achieve anything. We lived in a two bedroom trailer that was not good. In the middle of the night, if it started to rain, you better get up and put out buckets or you were floating. But I owned it and the land. Being involved in Head Start, they encouraged me to make family goals. My goal at that time was to have a better home for my babies. I was given a lot of support and confidence from my FRS, Debbie Spears. To this day she still supports me and builds up my confidence. I really don’t know if any of this would have happened if not for her support. By the time my newborn was three years old and ready for Head Start, we had that bigger and better home.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy and was never supposed to walk or talk. When I was about five years old, I beat all the odds and started walking and talking. I still have crooked knee caps and still have leg spasms if I am on my feet all day. Because of abuse from a step-dad and a genetic bone disease, I have a dislocated shoulder. For many years I worked day and night as a CNA at a nursing home. The long hours took away from my kids, stressed me out and about killed my body. I loved my job, but after 10 years, I just couldn’t do it anymore. The good news is that I met my wonderful boyfriend while working there.
A friend told me that Head Start had an opening for a bus driver at its Longview center. I had done the same thing for 10 years and didn’t know if I could do anything else. I thought a lot about it, I was so scared to make the change, but yet I knew it would be the best thing for me and my family! I did finally decide to apply and I got the job! I was still so scared, I was being trained to drive the bus and for security was still working as a CNA. I had three classes left of training when I took the CDL test and passed! I knew then I was meant to do this and I was able to give up my old job. Now a year later, I am the cook and bus driver at the Longview Head Start center! My hubby and kids tell me they have never seen me happier. I don’t think I have been either.
Head Start is still helping me to be a better person and mom! Which is the main goal in my life.