When a Way to Grow family educator first met Laura and Joey, they lived in a studio apartment with a mattress on the floor, a table and two plastic chairs. Joey, nearly 4 years old, did not speak much and was still wearing diapers. His mother, Laura, was pregnant and had diabetes.
The family educator immediately assessed the needs of the family and identified that Joey needed to be screened for developmental delays. The screenings identified Joey’s developmental delays, and he was immediately enrolled in a special education program. The family educator also learned that Joey was eligible for supplemental Social Security income and assisted Laura in the application process.
With Joey in the special education classes he needed, the family educator turned her attention to Laura’s health. She connected Laura with a visiting nurse from the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) to monitor Laura’s diabetes and help with her pregnancy. The family educator taught Laura about the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits to help with her diabetes, and enrolled the whole family in a YMCA exercise program.
The family educator also identified the family’s need for safe furniture in their home, and connected Laura with an organization that provides free furniture for low-income families. The family educator even went with the family to the warehouse when they picked out their furniture. A crib for the new baby, a sofa for their living room and a bed were delivered to their home shortly thereafter.
Through hard work and support from Way to Grow, Laura and Joey have obtained a basic level of stability and health, and Joey is developing the skills he will need for kindergarten and beyond.