Congratulations to the 2023 Francine Bunch Awardees!

On March 30, 2023, the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, named Penny Sims (Community Progress Council Head Start) and Sandra Guibas (Capital Area Head Start) winners of the Francine Bunch award at the Pennsylvania Head Start Association’s spring conference at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

This award is given to a parent and a staff person from a PHSA member organization displaying the qualities of Francine Bunch. To read more about Francine Bunch and her dedication to Head Start, click here.

Penny’s ability to build relationships with her families and support their journey toward self-sufficiency is unmatched! 
As a Head Start Family Coach, Penny has been working with countless families since 2007, and always encourages them to pursue their goals and engage in all of the programs CPC has to offer.

She has empowered them to join leadership activities, some of which she facilitates, including:

  • serving on Policy Council, 

  • attending parent gatherings,

  • planning and participating in the end of year event

  • ACT Raising Safe Kids 

  • and the Getting Ahead classes 

Penny promotes life-long learning and supports parents with their goal of increasing their education and improving their skills to obtain employment. A current parent, who is in the process of completing a training program through CPC, is on track to be offered a full-time assistant teacher position.

Penny has built partnerships within the community. She has organized with a school district coach community events where Head Start families interact with the local basketball and cheerleading teams. During these events, children are paired with older student-athletes to paint or read and parents enjoy a sense of community among themselves.

She is a great mentor to her peers and continues to find ways to challenge herself and continue growing. Penny recently completed a Strengths Based Family Worker credential and a Nonprofit Management course through Temple University. 

Penny is a positive role model and coach to everyone she meets. She fully embodies the qualities of Francine Bunch and is the well-deserving 2023 Staff recipient!

Sandra Guibas with Capital Area Head Start of Keystone Human Services is awarded the Francine Bunch Award for her role as a Parent.

One of the many ways in which Sandra is unique is because, while she is a staff member with Capital Area Head Start, she has been a parent here and in Puerto Rico- two different Head Start programs!

Having been a Head Start parent and a member of Policy Council , Sandra shares a common bond with many mothers, fathers, and guardians. She is incredibly relatable. She has overcome tremendous obstacles which have opened her to be so compassionate with the children and families we serve. 

Sandra is remembered as a shy health assistant. Fast forward 12 years, she has grown as a leader, gained confidence and earned the position of Health Coordinator.  A lifelong learner who  is actively engaged in her church and the Latino community,  Sandra will earn her Registered Nurse license in 2023!

Sandra has been described as “one of the most positive and upbeat.”  She volunteers to assist and teach others. As a bilingual speaker, she makes our program a better place to work for all as she gives 100% of herself to the families we serve and her teammates. Throughout the pandemic Sandra was a pillar in the organization. Many dual language parents in the program were scared and Sandra provided comfort, along with translation services. Parents, children, and staff adore her. 

Capital Area Head Starts says it takes a community to raise a child and Sandra is that community. She is impactful, intentional, and brilliantly talented at helping others rise to their full potential. She  is so appreciative of the opportunities that Head Start has offered: where she learned how to  value herself and protect her family. She models the parallel process of helping others, just like the two Head Start programs helped her as a parent.