August 2018

LaShun Johnson first participated with Santa Maria after the birth of her son, Riley, when she was referred to Santa Maria’s Every Child Succeeds (ECS) program through her delivery hospital.

JoAnne Dwyer, Santa Maria ECS Family Support Worker, began working with LaShun and Riley shortly after Riley’s birth in February of 2017. The ECS Program is a voluntary, home-visitation program that works with first-time mothers to help their families be successful. “She is the best mom,” says JoAnne. “She is open to all education and resources I offer when going on home visits. Everything she does is for her and Riley. To see her play and engage with him is so impactful.”

Since Riley’s enrollment in the program, LaShun has benefitted from additional services offered through Santa Maria. With the support of JoAnne and the agency, LaShun has moved her and her son into a safer neighborhood. She is currently working toward getting her driver’s license and her high school diploma through Santa Maria’s Literacy Center West, where she will also be working with a Santa Maria Workforce Coach to obtain any certificates or training she may need for employment.

“She was in survival mode,” adds JoAnne, “and now she’s working to live, not just to survive. Her greatest strength is the dedication and love for her son; all her hard work to overcome barriers is for him. She is committed and an amazing example of what great parenting can look like, even when you’re struggling to lift yourself up.”