TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's been a tough summer for teachers who dedicate their careers to teaching youngsters in Head Start programs across the country.
First, they had their hours, and paychecks, cut as a result of the sequestration budget cuts.
Now the federal government shutdown has closed nine Head Start facilities in north Florida and is keeping teachers like Venita Treadwell in Tallahassee from doing what they love.
Treadwell is passionate about her work as a Head Start teacher and wants to help her students become successful early learners, ready for kindergarten.
She says the shutdown not only adds stress for teachers who can't go to work or earn money, it also stresses out the three and four-year-old children in Head Start classes.
Treadwell says she's most upset to see the lives of these youngsters disrupted by the government shutdown because it can have serious consequences.
"I don't like to see the stress being put on these young children because their little world has been disrupted and that stress affects them academically and it affects their social and emotional well being."
Treadwell says the Head Start teachers she supervises put their heart and soul into nurturing their young students.
She says it doesn't feel good to see the lack of support from politicians in Washington. She thinks they could learn a lot from teachers about having a servant's heart.
"Anyone who works with young children, we're servants. We're serving the children and the families and I wish that Washington would see that they're servants. They should be serving the public in a better way, a more meaningful way and not a way that's hurtful to the most vulnerable of our society."
So while Treadwell is discouraged by dysfunction in Washington, she is choosing instead to focus on the families and children depending on her efforts.
"When you know you're helping a child and that's your passion, that's a real good payback. That's something you can bank on and know it's going to pay off in the future and I think Washington needs to know that too. Everything you do for the least of these is going to only make you have a better society later on."