Shelly is a young mother of two: 8-year-old Stevie and 7-month-old Stephie. Shelly was referred to Bridges of Hope’s Family Support Services to provide her with some additional parenting support. She was struggling to manage the needs of both a school-aged child and an infant, in addition to the added financial costs–she had long since worn out, passed on, or shared all of her baby items with friends.
Family Support Services is a unique program that can be tailored to fit the goals of each family. Staff meet one-one-one with parents in their home and set goals based on each family’s individual strengths and challenges over the course of about three to six months. The goals often include support and resources for things like transportation, catching up on bills and strengthening budgeting skills, establishing childcare, or learning new parenting techniques. Our role is to assist and encourage parents throughout the process of accomplishing their goals.
Once we connected about the program, Shelly began meeting with me each week. During one of these weekly meetings, Shelly confided that she was three months behind on her rent, due to having been on bed rest during her last two months of pregnancy, which meant she didn’t have any income for those two months–or when she was on maternity leave for six weeks after Stephie was born. She had been able to return to work and had been paying her monthly rent since then, but she was still struggling to catch up. We were able to connect Shelly with two area resources–the Salvation Army and Cradle of Hope–to help Shelly catch up on her rent. Cradle of Hope is a program specifically for families who have experienced a financial hardship due to pregnancy and the birth of a child, and we collaborate with our local Salvation Army regularly to help meet the needs in our community.
After Shelly’s immediate housing situation was resolved, I was able to continue working with her for several more months, supporting her as she continued working toward accomplishing her parenting goals. Knowing that she would continue to have a place to live allowed Shelly to really focus on sharpening her parenting skills. Today, Shelly continues to work full time and has the financial means to provide for her family. She wrote a note to Bridges of Hope recently, which described her experience in our Family Support Services program: “Thank you again. Your organization is incredible. You’ve not only helped me stay in my house, but all of the other things you did too! I can’t say in words how much I appreciate it.”
We’re glad we were able to be a part of Shelly’s Moment.
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