R-E-B-E-C-C-A. Mergerdichian. M-E-G-E-R-D-I-C-H-I-A-N.
There's a very good community here, with people who are very close to each other. Many of them try their best to come in and help as volunteers in the classrooms. They are very friendly people. I enjoy seeing from the beautiful, pure smiles from parents when they come in.
Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish and most of my parents do speak Spanish. However, I've been able to connect with them because they have accepted me. Although we cannot always communicate, I know that they're very friendly people, they really care for their children and they're trying to do their best for their children's education.
I'm Armenian from Iran. Growing up my mother was very poor, but every night we had at least twelve to fifteen people around the dinner table. All we had were eggs, some pickles and bread, and still everybody would bring their friends over. Maybe that's why I was drawn to this field, to be with people that don't have much, but are grateful for what they have.
I came to the United States back in 1989. I didn't speak any English. I was a single parent, and I started volunteering in the classrooms. Back then I did not know it was Kedren Head Start, but that is where I started volunteering. The teachers started inviting me to come volunteer in the classroom and later on, they encouraged me to go to school. I started taking English classes and child development classes. I started working in 1996 as an assistant teacher and continued my education. I have my bachelor's degree, and I am running the site now.
I can tell you that this community helped me so much. I raised two children here. It was amazing. For me it's been a great experience.
The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:
Northeast Los Angeles