Nova is a proud and loving mom who used the Every Child Succeeds (ECS) and SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) programs to help her young daughter, Ayla, now 5, with early childhood development skills. When Ayla graduated from those programs at age 3, Nova wanted to give Ayla a head start in developing her preschool skills, and SPARK referred her to Santa Maria’s Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) program. POP supports children aged 3 to 5 for kindergarten readiness. Nova and Ayla were introduced to Sierra Brown, who became their POP family advocate. They connected instantly, and Sierra’s support was a game-changer for Nova and Ayla.

Nova and Ayla enjoy a close bond as mother and daughter. They enjoy fun activities at home, like dressing up and hosting tea parties, as well as venturing outdoors to visit nearby parks, swing on the swings, and indulge in ice cream treats. Nova loves making jewelry, but her fibromyalgia makes work difficult. Nonetheless, Nova finds immense joy and fulfillment in her role as a mother, and one of her proudest moments in life was successfully potty training Ayla—a significant milestone that filled her with pride and a sense of accomplishment.

Before Santa Maria, Nova faced challenges, but the program’s support helped her overcome them. Sierra was caring and always available for Nova’s questions or concerns. Nova speaks very highly of Sierra, describing her as a reliable and compassionate friend. Sierra’s strong connection with Ayla fostered a warm bond between them as well, and Ayla eagerly anticipated Sierra’s home visits for playful interactions. Nova said every time Sierra walks in the door, Ayla excitedly asks, “Do you want to play?”

Sierra admires Nova’s dedication to Ayla’s education and was happy to provide lessons, reading activities, books, school clothes and toys for Ayla’s education and enjoyment. Ayla was also the recipient of a free Amazon Fire Tablet, courtesy of a grant from PNC Grow Up Great®, that came complete with an online reading program called Ready Rosie. Ayla’s love for books has grown, and she has started to read, a great source of pride for Nova. She cherishes the prospect of Ayla being able to share in the reading of bedtime stories.

Ayla’s aspirations change regularly, from wanting to be a dentist to a ballerina or a teacher. Nova relishes the opportunity to witness and support her daughter’s dreams as she navigates through life. Her immediate hope is that Ayla will become a great reader and she recommends Santa Maria’s early childhood development programs to others, thankful for the amazing support Sierra gave them. Reflecting on her journey with Ayla, Nova said that she hopes Santa Maria will keep growing and helping more families in the future. The organization had a huge impact on her life and became an essential part of her support network.

Nova and Ayla’s story shows the power of Santa Maria, offering hope, support, and a sense of belonging to families in Greater Price Hill. Caring communities play a crucial role in positively impacting parents and children, and Santa Maria strives to be a catalyst and advocate for providing that support.