The Children's Movement of Florida has been a strong supporter of Help Me Grow since 2012. To show its impact, we are sharing a series of client stories about how this unique resource has helped Florida families. This is Blake's story:
When I think about Help Me Grow, tears fill my eyes. I was in a very scary place, homeless and pregnant, when I called Help Me Grow at 2-1-1 for help. A warm, soft voice answered, and a care coordinator named Deborah assured me everything is going to be OK.
She went to work finding places to help me. Even better, she stayed in touch, and over time encouraged me to go back to work and to reconnect with my family. Then my daughter was born premature at 24 weeks and weighing only about a pound. The added stress made my depression worse, and I worried my baby, Livikah, might not make it.
Soon the phone rang and it was Deborah again. She was like my angel, calling me at times when I wanted to run away. She said when Livikah is discharged, she would do everything she could to assist me -- and she did. She found me a child-care center so I could continue working. She connected me with the Early Steps program to get physical therapy for my daughter. When I couldn't afford diapers, she helped find me some.
The reason I appreciate Help Me Grow so much is that I wasn't treated like a nobody with nothing. I was listened to and I was encouraged to create a healthy environment for my daughter. Today, Livikah is still enrolled in childcare and getting therapy. I went back to school, earning a 3.0 GPA while working full time. It's not easy, but thanks to Deborah and Help Me Grow, I know there's always someone to talk to.
The Children's Movement of Florida has been a strong supporter of Help Me Grow since 2012. To show its impact, we are sharing a series of client stories about how this unique resource has helped Florida families. This is Hadley's story:
The joy of being a new mother became muffled by my older daughter's behavior. She made herself throw up, screamed when I brushed her hair or teeth, had trouble sleeping and suffered emotional meltdowns. I knew something was wrong, but my parents and in-laws and other relatives insisted "she will grow out of it," and then added that "they have raised kids, so they know better."
I hoped they were right, but when my daughter's behavior got worse, I knew she wasn't growing out of it. I called some behavioral specialists, only to find out there was long wait for an appointment, plus I would have to pay out of pocket to find out if my concerns were justified.
Then I heard about making a free call to Help Me Grow, a state early-intervention program. A knowledgeable care coordinator did a screening of my daughter right over the phone, and it turned out I was right to be concerned - giving me a sense of relief that I was on the right track. The coordinator continued to help me with the crucial next step - contacting the right agency to get help for my daughter.
My daughter entered our county's Education Center program, and now is getting what she needs to excel in life rather than get left behind. I am so grateful that one phone call to Help Me Grow changed our lives for the better.
The Children's Movement of Florida has been a strong supporter of Help Me Grow since 2012. To show its impact, we will be sharing a series of client stories about how this unique resource has helped Florida families. This is Elisamari Rosado's story:
I knew something wasn't right when my son Eli was 6 months old. He wasn't talking as much as other children, and he was having behavior issues.
Our pediatrician said Eli would eventually grow out of it. But when he turned 2, I wasn't able to understand much of what he was saying, and his behavior was getting worse. I am so grateful my friends told me about Help Me Grow Florida, a unique parenting resource for early detection of developmental and behavioral concerns about young children.
Simply dialing 2-1-1 put me in touch with a knowledgeable care coordinator named Viola, who did an evaluation during the phone call and then helped connect me with local organizations to provide the therapy Eli needs. He now can speak a little more and control his behavior a little better, but he has a ways to go.
Thank you, Viola, for sticking with me on this long journey. Otherwise, I would still be wondering if the pediatrician was right -- and Eli would still be struggling.
To learn more about this free service, go to http://childrensmovementflorida.org and click the Help Me Grow icon.