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Leading by example

Fairview woman, MHCC leader, named Head Start Parent of the Year


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Along with working full time for two Portland nonprofit organizations, Landra Glover is the single mother of 5-year-old Jaxon, vice chairwoman of the Head Start Policy Council for the 11 sites managed by Mt. Hood Community College and a published author.

It was one of those trying mornings when getting out the door was a struggle.

Then Landra Glover opened a congratulatory email, naming her as National Head Start Parent of the Year.

“I dropped a couple tears,” Glover said. “To me, it means that I did something right. We have many more years to come, but it makes me think I’m on the right path.”

A Fairview resident, Glover is the mother of a 5-year-old son enrolled in the Head Start program and serves as vice chairwoman of the Head Start Policy Council for the 11 sites managed by Mt. Hood Community College.

Along with her leadership in Head Start, Glover, 36, works as an office manager for Our United Villages and teaches financial literacy classes for Innovative Changes, both nonprofit organizations in Portland.

She was also a 2012 featured writer for Write Around Portland and the author of “The Arms That Are Needed — Daughters Reflect on Fatherly Love,” a book featuring 37 interviews with women age 16 to 83 who talk about their relationships with their fathers.

“I was raised by a single mom who raised five kids and opened her doors to so many other people,” Glover said. “I learned parents do the best they can with what they have.”

For her award, Glover received a $500 cash prize, a commemorative plaque and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the 40th annual Head Start Conference April 28 through May 2.

“(She has) a commitment to achieve goals, despite all barriers,” said Jane Adams, National Head Start Association director of projects and partnerships.

Glover entered her son in Head Start when he was 18 months old. This fall, Jaxon will begin kindergarten at Salish Ponds Elementary School. She describes him as “an Aries to the T” and born musician who loves T-ball and swim class.

“He’s one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Glover said. “As a single mom, I can’t complain. Children are always challenging, but I’m thankful I have a happy, healthy child.

“I don’t know what life will bring in 15 or 20 years, but right now, this is the most important and challenging thing I’ve done,” Glover said.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Glover recently won an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., after winning the national Head Start Parent of the Year award.

‘The Arms That Are Needed

When she was 7, Glover’s mother moved her five children to Oregon from Illinois.

“She wanted us to see and do something different — to see what life had to offer,” Glover said.

During her undergraduate years studying journalism at the University of District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., thinking about her father’s lacking presence hurt Glover and made her question who she was.

“You need to have that connection to know who you are and where you’re coming from to know where you’re going,” Glover said. “My mom did a great job, especially by herself, but I needed my father to support her and take the burden off one person.”

Glover has spoken about positive male involvement to numerous Portland-area organizations, including the MHCC Head Start Program and Healthy Birth Initiative.

In writing her book, Glover heard good stories, bad stories, funny stories and ironic stories.

She hopes “The Arms That Are Needed” has a universal message for men and women — that when they read it, something will prompt them to make changes in their relationships. The back of the book even offers a section for people to write their own story.

“It’s never too late,” Glover said. “The book doesn’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but when you read it, it’s a form of self-discovery. When you understand your parents and the things they’ve been through, you can have more compassion.

“Children make you look at and see yourself. You can either say, ‘I”m gonna fix that or I’m gonna cover that up.’ I hope Jaxon grows up to be a productive citizen and a decent human being. I want him to be OK with who he is and to feel like he had love.”

The book is expected to be released any day now at Barnes & Noble and a Google version will be available for download next month.




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