A Journey From Egypt to Astor

A letter from the mother of a child in our Early Childhood Program (Head Start):


I am an Egyptian mother, My family and I immigrated from Egypt  to the U.S.A in July 2014. I have three children a 13 years old boy named  Ragy , a 9 years old girl named Sarah and a 4 years old boy named Rafik.

As soon as I reached the U.S.A, my two elder kids joined the Red Hook school district (elementary & middle). For my youngest boy I found a gift called Astor Early Childhood Program in Red Hook, NY. Really there is no words to express my feelings towards this program.

First, Rafik was not speaking English at all, but now he speaks really good English, he can express himself by complete sentences, and a bunch of vocabularies have been added to him. He loves being at school every day.  He Loves his teachers and always speaks about them at home,  he loves his class mates also.

Not only the language has been  improved but also his skills. He learns how to be an initiative and planning person. He learned how to communicate with others using the two magic words please and thank you. He learned how to observe and express and also learned how to build relations with his class mates.

One of the most precious things that Rafik learned in Astor Program is reading a book , he likes it. It became a habit in his life and that’s wonderful.

Many things had changed in Rafik and were added during this year since he joined Astor Early Childhood Program. I am thankful for all the effort that the staff is doing.

The amazing thing about the program, that it is not only looking after the children education and it builds them as round students, but also it looks after their health. I will never forget what Mrs. Shirley did when I was introduced to Astor, how she was helpful as she organized for Rafik to finish his physical and dental check to complete his application and to be sure his health is in good shape. Moreover, they always monitor the children’s health and if they observe an odd change, there is always an action.   

I am speechless about the care Astor program provides to the parents. A bunch of activities has been selected carefully for the parents. For every month, I have been eager to attend the parents meeting because Mrs. Shirley always prepares some useful advice to the parents to add something new to our knowledge. For example; she asked one of the parents that has good experience in using coupons to explain for us how to deal with it to make the maximum saving and it was great.

The flyers that were always in Rafik’s mail was always useful, she cares to put in each child’s mail folder useful things. I gained great experiences from Rafik’s mail such as instructions for teaching children, free medical checkup, learning about immigration, how to start your own small business, etc.

One of the great things that happened this year is the nutrition program that has been offered by New York Health Dept. It was very useful, for six weeks I learned about healthy nutrition for my family. I changed many of my habits in nutrition since I attended this program through Astor Early Childhood.

The child senses love. Rafik loves his teachers as they  love him. Mrs. Bonnie, Mrs. Cathy and of course Mrs. Shirley. All the staff was caring, loving and helpful, doing their best for the children. All of the staff was gorgeous and marvelous.

Safety is very important especially for the kids in this age. I found and feel this in Astor Early Childhood. Mrs. Shirley made two sessions: one for the children and one of the parents to widen our knowledge about child abuse, How to protect our children and if it happened how we can deal with. It was absolutely useful. Not only that but also as I wrote before, Mrs. Shirley is always caring. She brought Health Quest and let them check all the car seats for the kids. I was astonished when I found the car seat technician checked my kid’s car seat and replaced it with a new one for free as mine was not safe for my child.

This is how love is really shown as acts. This is what I experienced in Astor Program. My best experience was at Christmas time. I was astonished by the gifts that Astor program offered to my family through the Family adoption program. My children were really thrilled when they saw the presents. That experience would never fade from my children’s mind. They will always remember it and I am sure that they are going to do that someday when they grow up.

Astor program was a necessity for my child, it was really hard to start from scratch at a new country, but Astor program helped me overcome that difficulty by taking care of my child and my family. Thanks for that great and wonderful year. Thanks for every staff member, you are really not only working hard but you are also helping and serving the community.