Always driven and confident in her abilities, Mina graduated high school in 2010, ready to continue her schooling. However, a year later she found it difficult to balance her new motherhood with her education, so she put school on hold to raise her young son, Itachi.
Early on, Mina discovered that Itachi was struggling with education fundamentals and lacked social skills. In 2013, her sister first mentioned Way to Grow, but Mina was skeptical. “I thought I didn’t need help and that this meant I was doing something wrong as a mother,” she explains.
After suffering the tragic loss of her second child shortly after birth, Mina enrolled in Way to Grow and gained the support of a Family Educator. “I learned that sometimes as a parent you don’t know it all, and Way to Grow is there to help further your skills to improve your child’s life,” she recalls. Itachi entered Way to Grow’s Preschool P.A.L.S. the following year and flourished in his new learning environment, surpassing Mina’s expectations.
Way to Grow was an asset to Mina and her family, but it also taught her that as a parent she had to advocate for her child and be active in their education. For example, she saw a change in her interactions during parent-teacher conferences. “At first I was uncomfortable. It’s easy to just show up, get the report, and leave,” Mina explains. “I learned how ‘what to ask’ translates into ‘what more I can do for my child.’ It really put emphasis on the value of being proactive in my child’s education.”
Continuing that proactive momentum, Mina decided to become one of Way to Grow’s strongest parent champions by attending multiple events and hearings at the State Capitol, as well as speaking on behalf of Way to Grow’s families at the annual Children’s Day at the Capitol. “It is always about coming from a place of ‘yes’ when it comes to being proactive in early education. There is always something to do,” Mina shares.
Inspired by the growth and development of her son, Mina decided to return to school, and in 2017 she completed the community health worker program at Summit OIC and became a certified nursing assistant. Mina has since joined Way to Grow’s staff as a new Family Educator. Congratulations, Mina!