There's no better way to learn the impact of the programs funded by the Children's Services Council of Martin County than hearing directly from your neighbors. Success stories are also included in each edition of From the Heart, our monthly newsletter. Click here to read From the Heart.
From a client of CASTLE:
As a little girl I dreamed of the perfect home. I remember lying down on the heater vent listening to the awful fights between my parents and hearing my step father blame me, a little girl, for his abuse toward my mother and me. I did not understand but I felt guilty and afraid every day. As I grew up I knew that I had to be perfect and that my own family would be different. I met a good man fell in love and proceeded to become a stay at home mom, the American dream, nice house, cars, seven beautiful kids. Everything under control.
My husband was a good provider and worked the night shift. Soon he became tired and moody. My two eldest sons started having problems at school. In what seemed like a second, an avalanche of new words came into my life, drug addiction, assault, battery, police, DCF, DUI’s, Crystal Meth, Cocaine, Freon huffing, drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts. My life was spinning out of control. One day my son had tried to burn our house down while we were in it. Another day my husband was flown off in a helicopter dying from an overdose as my children watched in horror. My older boys grew violent, they were out of control and were taken away by DCF. I sat helpless in my home bewildered. Who and what had we become…what happened? I realized that girl lying on the heater vent had watched her biggest fears become reality.
Out of sheer desperation I ran away, yet even then I was afraid. Then I learned about CASTLE. I would not have to get in the ‘SYSTEM” it was voluntary, I did not need insurance. The help to my family would not end as it had because of funding issues in the case of my eldest boys. One day an angel walked through my door a CASTLE parent educator, and he was there to help. With all the desperation of a drowning woman as he reached out his hand I grabbed it. David taught me so many things just on his first visit, he told me I needed support and it was ok to ask for it, he told me over and over that I did not need to be perfect and that the family had not become ill overnight and they would not get better overnight. CASTLE’s programs were voluntary, affordable and available in my house. David helped me find other resources, my two youngest showed signs of developmental delay and David helped us get speech therapy, day care options and job opportunities in the community. Even after our time with CASTLE was officially over they provided Christmas for my family in a year I could not have done anything for them.
Now 16 months later, my family is reunited. My husband got help he has a program and has been clean for 7 months. My oldest son is working and living out of state. The rest of the family is together. We are parents and children that are not perfect. We are a family that has communication and problem solving skills; we are not ashamed of where we have come from. Each family member has chosen to break bad patterns for good ones. My children are happy and safe and they are not afraid to express their emotions good or bad. Today I have established boundaries with my husband and my children and I am not afraid. Life is not perfect, but it is safe. CASTLE has given us something we thought we’d lost forever….HOPE and for that we are so grateful, thank you.
From a client of the Early Learning Coalition:
One of our clients came in to our office this week, and shared her gratefulness for our School Readiness program. “I don’t know what we would have done without ELC,” she remarked, “child care is $1,800 per month, and we would be spending our retirement.” The client, Chrissi, is one of many who, through unexpected circumstances, is now caring for her grandchildren. She never expected to be in this position at this stage of her life. Now, instead of worrying about the tremendous financial burden, she has embraced this as a wonderful opportunity. She wondered aloud how many grandparents there are in her position – “they should be camping at your doorstep!” She wanted to share her story, in the hopes that other grandparents can benefit from her experience, and see if they qualify for services, also.
From clients of the Father & Child Resource Center:
Children of incarcerated fathers feel keenly the effects of father absence. To address this issue the Father & Child Resource Center holds a weekly class at the Martin County Jail as part of the Public Defender’s Re-Entry Program in order to equip men returning to family life with the knowledge and skills to help them fulfill their responsibilities as a father. This is a unique opportunity to reach a group of men who otherwise are unlikely to attend fatherhood classes. The following are quotes from some of the participants:
“My father was hardly ever home and lied all the time. I just feel that I don’t want that for my kid”
“I think about the classes every night before I fall asleep”
“This class is very painful for me since it makes me realize what a poor father I was.”
“I realize that I have not been a very good father and I have a lot to make up for.”
“As soon as I leave here I am going to visit my daughter and ask for forgiveness.”
“More than anything I want to be a good father when I leave jail”
“This class has taught me skills that I can use when I go home.”
“I now understand the difference between discipline and punishment”
“My girlfriend was screaming at our two-year old and I told her that we learnt in our class not to show anger but to discipline with love. She was amazed at how effective my new skills were.”
From a client of Helping People Succeed:
One year ago a very remarkable woman came into my life. I met her during a time I was angry, confused, and terrified. Every evening I hid in the bathroom and cried. Every morning I woke up wondering what fresh fear I would face. My daughter Ella was born with multiple special needs and my life had taken a drastic turn into worlds unknown.
On the morning of January 6, 2011 a woman named Diane appeared at my door. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect that morning. I certainly received a gift far greater than I could ever have imagined. Diane is a Developmental Specialist with an organization called Helping People Succeed. She introduced herself, met Ella, met my mom who was visiting, and with our input, she filled out a H.E.L.P. (Hawaiian Early Learning Profile) She spent more than an hour with us asking and answering questions. She showed me the chart and said one of the first positive things anyone had said to me about my daughter. "Look at all these things she's mastered! And she's only six weeks old!" Then she said something else completely unexpected. "I'll come every week to meet with you and we'll help Ella master more goals." Even though I had my husband, parents, and church family who love me dearly, that morning was the first time in six weeks I didn't feel alone anymore. I suddenly had someone wise and comforting to rely on... Someone to teach me how to teach my child! Someone who so obviously cared about us and would help us succeed!
Looking back now at that six week visit, I know she must have had grave doubts about Ella's ability to overcome her challenges. But Diane never let on. She came to us week after week after week and was the ray of sunshine, humor, and optimism I desperately needed. With her help I was able to find additional therapy services for Ella. With the help of the team, Ella has grown, has learned, has mastered goals, and works harder than anyone I know. I have all the therapists to thank for Ella's progress. I have Diane to thank for my confidence.
A thankful mom
From a client of Tykes & Teens:
I have been attending educational seminars provided by Tykes and Teens since January 2010. This organization has been a great value to me, to guide me with my journey raising my teenage daughter. I know whenever there is a parenting seminar that it will be very informative, well planned, and in a very relaxed setting. I often walk away meeting new friends, too.