When she enrolled her youngest child in LSSNY’s Early LIFE program seven years ago, Tanya Frazier had no inkling how it would change her life. As a parent of a child in the program, she volunteered in the classroom, where the program director saw Tanya in action, nicely but firmly telling parents it was okay to leave, that their children were in good hands and would be fine.

Four months later, Tanya walked into her new office as the Family Service Coordinator for that location. She has remained there ever since. Following a promotion, Tanya now serves as the Parent Governance Coordinator for Early LIFE, overseeing that relationship for all seven locations (three in Manhattan, three in the Bronx, and one in Brooklyn).

Tanya has been a Head Start parent for 26 years. This makes her especially qualified to relate to the parents she interacts with. “I say, ‘I know your struggles. I fought poverty. I didn’t know where we were going to go. I’ve sat in the public assistance office. I’ve overcome homelessness. I know what your struggles are. It’s okay to be upset.’” She explains, “I’ve sat on both sides of the desk. We find common ground.”

The daughter of a social worker, Tanya was that teenager who would summon her friends to come over to talk things through. Little did she know that she was laying the foundation for her future career.

The day she was promoted to the Parent Governance Coordinator for Early LIFE was one of the happiest days of her life. “I found out I got a promotion and a new apartment on the same day. When my friends see this photograph, they can tell that this is my happiest face. Everything was perfect in my world. You mean I got an apartment and a job? God is good. He heard me cry. He heard my prayers.”

P.S. Tanya’s grandson will be joining the Early LIFE program.