“I think the changes I see in my girls are because of both Families First and what I’m doing differently, and Jumpstart. It’s given them their time and given me time to learn new skills for them. Both work great together.”
Community partnerships have long allowed Families First to reach the parents most in need. But with deeper, more strategic collaborations in under-resourced neighborhoods, we can make a greater and longer-lasting difference.
Through one such collaboration, Families First reaches parents in Roxbury housing developments managed by the Urban Edge community development corporation. Parents participate in the 12-week Power of Parenting program. Meanwhile, their children are close by, engaging in early literacy programming with Jumpstart.
The participating parents have formed a tight-knit community, through which they support each other and their children. Mirella is one of those parents.
Mirella’s two girls are polar opposites. Amariz is five, bold, and athletic. Aurora is three and more cautious. Aurora was born with hydrocephaly, which left her with serious balance challenges.
Mirella says age three was challenging with Amariz; with Aurora it’s even harder. Aurora was talking back, and Mirella had been losing patience.
But after several weeks with Families First, Mirella sees the fresh talk as Aurora’s way of “finding her strength through her voice.” By giving her an understanding of normal development, she says the workshops have helped her support Aurora to adapt to her challenges.
“…I still have moments when I get angry. Now I’m able to look at how I’m feeling… I know I might need to walk away for a few minutes… If I could tell people to do a program like this, I would. It brings some form of peace to your life with your kids.”