Head Start driver’s 1st year was 1978
Enjoying its 20th anniversary in April, the Community Partnership for Child Development (CPCD) honored several long-time employees who were with the area
Head Start even before CPCD became its non-profit grantee.
One of these is Gloria Ordonez, who started driving youngsters to and from Head Start classes in 1978. After living on the Westside for part of her youth (attending Washington Elementary and eighth grade at West Junior), one of her early Head Start routes for several years was on this side of town. ”There were places here with goats and chickens then,” she said.
One thing hasn't changed over the years for Ordonez, now CPCD's senior transportation technician. Making use of her bilingual skills, she still believes in the program's mission - which goes back to Head Start's creation through federal War on Poverty legislation in 1965 - to help children in poverty get an early start on education,. “I believe what I do is important and viable,” she said.
In her free time, Ordonez volunteers in a program for children out of Memorial Hospital and for the DriveSmart program that helps teens become safer drivers.
One joy in her work is seeing former Head Start students, who recognize her and say hi. An example recently was in the Eighth Street Wal-Mart, when a former student walked up and told her she was now a teacher in Fort Collins. “Those are the kinds of things that make the heart go,” Ordonez smiled.
Westside Pioneer article