Non-Profit Development Center for Homeless Children Prepares Them for Kindergarten

More than one thousand classrooms across the state receive Texas School Ready! certification. It means that children are being prepared for kindergarten. Among the programs being certified is SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures. Pat Hernandez paid a visit to the non-profit center for homeless children.


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image of Damage caused by Hurricane IKE forced Tiny Treasures to close for 12-days. It did little to dampen the spirits of employees who not only couldn’t wait to see the kids again, but learned that Tiny Treasures received the Texas School Ready! certification for the new school year. The program is the only one of its kind. It was developed by the State Center for Early Childhood at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Center director Dr. Susan Landry says the certification validates Tiny Treasures.

“The challenge is incredibly greater here than some other child care environments and certainly, some of our public school populations, and that’s why this is so exciting today, to see this success story in an environment that has the greatest challenge and they’ve achieved.”

image of Thao Costis is executive director of SEARCH.

“These children were born into this situation where they are impoverished, or they’re struggling with homelessness, but they have great potential.  And so we want to be able to develop that for the children and give them the opportunity that otherwise they wouldn’t have, and that their parents maybe didn’t have.”

Kindergarten teacher Margaret Carmona has been at TT for nine years.

Hernandez: “You’ve watched these kids really develop here?”
Carmona: “Oh yes, I’ve so enjoyed my time here, it’s an awesome place.”
Hernandez: “What is it that makes you want to get up every morning to do what you do?”
Carmona: “Being with the children, never knowing what they’re going to do next, or say next, watching them grasp something new, you know, that you’ve been working with them, and seeing that they get it, it’s just awesome.”
Hernandez: “And the payback for you and other teachers is what?”
Carmona: “It’s seeing the children grow right before our eyes. It’s hearing from the families, how they appreciate what we’re doing for their children. It’s that kind of payback, seeing that they’re growing, they’re excelling, and they remember us. That’s awesome and that happens all the time.”

image of SEARCH director Costis calls it a worthwhile investment.

“We’re investing not just in the children, but we’re also investing in the family as a unit, and making sure that they don’t repeat the cycle.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

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