Evelyn and Franscisco
For parents who are overwhelmed and isolated, NAC offers individual counseling, parenting skills classes and parent support groups, as well as access to vocational and resource specialists who assist with employment, tenant’s rights and referrals to other services.
When the family first came to NAC’s Preventive Services program, Juliana was overwhelmed, depressed and did not know where to turn for help. She spoke very little English and felt isolated. She struggled as a single mother, relying on her kids for emotional and practical support. Francisco, however, was recuperating from back surgery and Evelyn needed surgery on her foot.
Francisco and his sister Evelyn were born with a genetic disease resulting in dwarfism, curvature of the spine and lifelong orthopedic problems. Any injury to their necks could result in paralysis. They live with two siblings, Wendy and Eric, and their mother, Juliana, in a two-room apartment.
The right support for a family overwhelmed
There were other urgent needs - rats were getting into their refrigerator though a hole in the door and eating the family's food. Although Juliana withheld two months' rent, the landlord remained indifferent. NAC immediately helped Juliana negotiate with the landlord for a new refrigerator, obtain extermination services, and avoid eviction. Bunk beds were purchased for the children, who were sleeping two to a bed. A bilingual Social Worker and Nurse accompanied Juliana to medical appointments and helped her to advocate for services for her children. Juliana attended counseling sessions and NAC's parent support group. Her Social Worker helped her enroll in an English as a Second Language class. NAC's Pediatrician was able to explain clearly the genetic nature of Francisco and Evelyn's diagnosis, refer Juliana to appropriate specialists, and arrange for Evelyn's foot surgery, which was successful.
The family went on to enjoy participation in bilingual family music therapy at NAC. The children have all attended summer camp and the annual NAC Kids Olympics. Evelyn and Wendy worked with NAC Tutors; Francisco benefitted from both Mentoring and Drama Therapy at NAC.
Aftercare makes a difference
The family has progressed from NAC's Preventive Services program to our aftercare Partners In Parenting (PIP) program, which offers less intensive services. Juliana now has a part-time job, which she works during school hours so that she can help her children with homework. Francisco, now 17 years old, looks forward to graduating high school and finding a job. Our Vocational Counselor is helping him prepare to join the work force. Evelyn, age 14, has joined NAC's Career Group and looks forward joining the College Bound program next year. As the family moves toward independence, they maintain their NAC friendships, and Juliana knows she always turn to NAC for support and counsel.
"When I've needed the most support, NAC has always been there for me and my family."
Juliana, Mother of Francisco and Evelyn
Evelyn at age 12
Francisco at age 14