An Upper Sandusky mother has received national recognition for her efforts as a parent.
Misty Hendricks, 28, was named National Head Start Association Parent of Year second runner-up. The local mother recently was honored at the 39th annual National Head Start Association Conference in Nashville, Tenn.
“My biggest personal accomplishment thus far is that of being a mother,” Hendricks said. “Teaching and guiding my children and instilling self-confidence and a sense of self-worth and purpose in them is the most challenging but also most rewarding activity I have ever done. Juggling a full-time job, a household and community involvement can be tough but well worth the effort.
“I want my children to know they can be and do whatever they set their minds to,” she added. “I want them to know that not having a lot of money is no excuse for not being successful in life. I intend to accomplish this goal by working hard and leaving an example for them to follow.”
To be eligible for the award, parents must have a child currently enrolled in Head Start and demonstrate exceptional leadership skills. Hendricks was nominated for the honor by local Head Start Family Service Coordinator Alisha Turner.
“Although Misty works a full-time job, it is apparent that she puts her family first,” Turner wrote in a letter to the selection committee. “In one instance, her son’s Head Start class was doing a program on a day she was scheduled to work so she regretfully told me she would not be able to attend. A short time later, I received a phone call from Misty informing me she had switched her work schedule so she would be able to make the program because she knew how much it meant to (her son) Isaiah to have her there and she didn’t want him to be the only child whose parents weren’t there.
“In my six years of service, I have rarely come across an individual as enthusiastic and willing to serve as Misty is,” Turner added.
Hendricks is very active in the Head Start program, serving as chair of the local parent group and the parent representative on the policy council.
“Obtaining the leadership positions in Head Start and Family and Children First Council has been a huge accomplishment for me,” Hendricks said. “I am honored to have been elected to these positions and have learned so much through serving in these capacities. Specifically, I have learned that I really want and need to do more for my community. I have always had a passion for helping others.”
Hendricks is vice chair of the Wyandot County Family and Children First Council and is a parent representative on the executive council. Former FCFC Executive Director Kathy Bruynis wrote a letter to the National Head Start Association recommending Hendricks for the honor, saying her dedication to her commitments is unmatched.
“Misty has embraced this leadership role by being an active voice for families,” Bruynis wrote. “She has been a wonderful asset to the council and especially to the executive committee. Many times during meetings, parents are too intimidated to speak up on behalf of families. Misty embodies the mission of FCFC and makes sure the families’ voice is present. … She is always looking out for what is in the best interest of the family and children that could potentially be affected.”
In addition to 5-year-old Isaiah Green, who attends Head Start, Misty is mom to 2-year-old Ethan. She also has two teenage stepchildren, Breann and Jacob Hendricks.
“I’m proud of her,” Hendricks’ husband, Robert, said. “When you think about it, she was chosen out of 50 states. That’s a lot of people.”
Hendricks works at ECI Inc., Tiffin, provides in-home support to Wyandot County people with developmental disabilities and is taking online courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She said others inspire her to do all she does for the Head Start program and throughout the community.
I’ve got a good support system,” Hendricks said. “My husband is very supportive and my family too. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t have a good support system.
“I thank God for giving me the gift of compassion and love towards others,” she added. “I also want to thank him for introducing me to so many that have this gift as well. I also want to thank the following people who have given me guidance and training needed to be a voice for my children as well as the children within my community: My mom, Sherry Schindler, her guidance and love have given me the ability to do my best in everything I do; HHWP CAC Head Start program, Lynn Tucker-Roberts, Alisha Turner, Mindy Dyer, WCFCFC, the Department of Job and Family Service, Help me Grow, the wonderful ladies at WIC, Patty Abrahamson, Angeline School and Industries, ECI Inc., Bill and Karen Spitler for introducing God into my heart so many years ago and last but certainly not least my family. The support and patience from my husband, my four wonderful children and others of my family who have supported me.”
By CHANDA NEELY