Megan, Ayden and Serenity

Megan, a 35-year-old mother of two, moved from Georgia to Cincinnati eight years ago. She had gotten into trouble and wanted to turn her life around. While getting assistance from Bethany House, she was referred to Santa Maria. Now celebrating eight years of sobriety, Megan has been able to get assistance for herself and her two children, Ayden-6 and Serenity-3, through Santa Maria’s Stable Families program, Promoting Our Preschoolers and Parents on Point.

Megan entered into the Stable Families program in January 2019 and has met with Molly Swaidan, Stable Families Coordinator, every month to work on budgeting and goal setting. Stable Families targets neighborhoods and schools with high student mobility rates. It creates long-lasting change by addressing and resolving the issues that push families to the brink of homelessness. Megan received family counseling and advocacy for her family and assistance in locating resources for her children’s special needs. Molly enjoyed being able to celebrate small steps and successes with Megan and her family.

Last year, Megan expressed an interest in Home Healthcare Aide training. Stable Families provided the $100 fee for the program and Megan graduated the three-week course on February 7, 2020 as the valedictorian of her class. She only missed one question on the final exam! She is now working as a home healthcare aid for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the day program Megan was working in, but she is still able to perform home visits with patients.  She finds her job very rewarding and is happy to be able to be self-sufficient rather than depending on inconsistent child support payments.

Perhaps Megan’s favorite Santa Maria program is Parents on Point. Parents on Point is a community-based support group for caregivers of children ages 2-5 and was created to empower and support participants in raising healthy and happy young children. The program brings caregivers in the community together to build connections, share ideas, and help each other problem solve common parenting dilemmas. Ayden struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Serenity has several health challenges including celiac disease. “Parents on Point has made me better at parenting my children,” Megan said.

Earlier this year, Megan and Serenity began working with Regine Gordon, Santa Maria Family Advocate, in the Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) program. POP is Santa Maria’s family-focused kindergarten-readiness program that works collaboratively with families, schools, and the community through home visitation. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented home visits, Regine delivers educational supplies to Megan’s door in order to provide learning opportunities to increase Serenity’s success in school and life and prepare her for kindergarten by building reading, language and social skills. “Megan has told me how important education is to her and that her children’s education is of paramount importance,” Regine said.  Recently, Megan was thrilled to learn that Santa Maria purchased an Amazon Fire Tablet for Serenity thanks to a grant from PNC bank. This will help Serenity further enhance her reading skills.

Megan is continuing to work and gives back to the community by working with her church’s recovery and prison ministries. Her future is looking much brighter. “You guys have given me the courage to go back to school,” Megan said.  Next up, she would like to get her State Tested Nursing Assistant certification.  Regine has no doubt she will be able to achieve her goal. “Megan has a positive outlook on life,” Regine said. “She has a good way of balancing all of the things she has to make work.  Life isn’t easy for her, but she always figures out a way to make it work.”

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