Paladin fulfills its mission to serve community members of all ages through Head Start and Senior Programs

Paladin fulfills its mission to serve community members of all ages through Head Start and Senior Programs

Since 1967, Paladin has advocated for children, persons with disabilities, seniors, and their families, providing support and opportunities to learn, grow, and enjoy a meaningful life. Paladin empowers those it serves to embrace their unique strengths and inherent value, conducting business with integrity and excellence. The organization’s impact is apparent in the many programs they provide, including their senior program.

“Our senior program is largely comprised of members who were once a part of the day program, and in many ways is like a retirement group for those who have worked with Paladin for years,” said Rita Barzoni, who works hands-on with the seniors.

The group meets every day, Monday through Friday, and participates in a variety of activities conducive to personal growth and a high quality of life.

“We have morning chats and discussions, reminisce, and generally do things to try and keep their cognitive skills up,” Barzoni said. “We see quite a few members going through dementia, so we try and focus on finding ways to keep their daily living as smooth as possible.”

The group also takes part in weekly fitness activities, beneficial for both physical strength and social connections.

“It’s fun for them to get out of the house and move around a bit rather than just sitting around,” Barzoni said. “The social aspect is also great, giving them the chance to communicate and build some social relationships.”

Paladin strives to support seniors in the community, but also extends their aid to local children through their work with the Head Start early education program. Head Start of LaPorte County offers comprehensive programs that promote school readiness of children between the ages of three and five from low-income families through education, health, social, and other services.

Head Start programs promote children’s development through services that support early learning, health, and family well-being.

“The program aims to appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle,” said Theresa Argueta, Director of Early Childhood Programs. “We base our work on knowledge of how children develop and learn.”

With over one million children enrolled every year, Head Start helps children and their families thrive by preparing them for early learning success through a combination of play, relationship building, and comprehensive instruction, all within a safe and supportive environment.

“We recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society,” Argueta said.

Head Start serves children and families who meet a certain level of criteria that ensure their services are aiding those that will benefit exponentially from their support.

“Children whose families are at or below 100% of poverty is the baseline requirement,” Argueta said. “Other factors also impact eligibility. For example, children who are homeless, in the foster system, or receive disability are automatically eligible.”

To learn more about Head Start visit or their Facebook page at

Or call 219-873-2146 to make an eligibility appointment.

To learn more about Paladin’s Senior Program, visit