Learning together to create stronger communities

The story below comes from a HIPPY home visitor in Pueblo.

HIPPY is so many different things to many different people. It can be a savior for a child’s education and an outlet for a parent to share their concerns for not only their child but possibly themselves.

I am going to talk about a family that I have had for three terms in the HIPPY program and has made big strides in her child’s education as well as her own personal life. This particular parent was having trouble with their child being able to identify different shapes. She has had an older child in the program and expressed the concern that with her older child she never had an issue with shapes, colors, or numbers. I reassured her that every child is different and especially with younger siblings.

She felt better and continued to work with her son on all of the Year 1 activities. Every week I made sure to ask about how their week has gone, not just with the program but in their personal life as well. As we came near the holidays this year I could see her fear easing about the progress her son was making with his shapes. He was successfully able to identify all of his HIPPY shapes. The mom was so excited she actually texted me to let me know how he was doing.

Fast forward to this week and she was again worried about his progress. She was afraid he was not learning his numbers as he should. However, rather than getting upset or becoming more anxious, she had the tools and support to chart a different path. She told me all the ways she was helping him to work on it. She also recognized that when she would get anxious it was counter productive, saying that when she would stress about his work he seemed to be able to sense her frustration, not with him but with herself.

During our home visit continued she mapped out her plan to get him back on track. As I sat and listened to her explain her plan and how she gushed over all of his progress, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I’m part of such an amazing program that not only helps out the children in our community but also our parents.

I feel as though my part in the HIPPY program has made me feel incredibly grateful to be a part of something so amazing. I have met so many amazing parents, some of which have taught me how to be a better parent and educator to my own children.

Supporting the whole family

In December, 2018, one of Clayton Early Learning‘s home visitors was assigned a homeless family that came to the HIPPY program from Clayton’s Community Services team. Her first visit with the family was in a very small one room trailer that was given to them by a family member until the family’s financial circumstances improved. The mother had lost her job and CCAP, and her husband had left the family. 

Clayton Early Learning

Despite the many difficulties she was facing, the parent was incredibly kind and gracious during every visit. The mother’s number one goal was to get all three of her children, who were all enrolled in HIPPY, into a full time early childhood education program so that she could go back to work. With guidance and support from her home visitor, the mother was able to get her CCAP benefits restored and register the children in a full time early childhood education program successfully. This enabled the mother to her previous employment. 

The family benefited from referrals that the home visitor was able to suggest; so that over time the family accessed a food pantry and mental health services. She was able to benefit from mental health services for herself and one of her children.  

During the holidays Clayton was able to give each member of the family a gift from our community collaborations. The family was overjoyed and appreciative, since the parent was not able to afford any Christmas gifts for her children. Though the family was not in our program for long, they received what they needed during a time when there were not other resources available to them. 

On her last visit this mother said to her home visitor:

“I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”

Finding Stability Through Home Visiting

A mother enrolled in Pueblo’s SafeCare and HIPPY programs shared the impact of home visiting on her family. Through home visiting from Catholic Charities of Pueblo she and her family were able to find stability.

Earlier this year, my family was having a very tough time, along with other challenges, we had a car accident. My infant, nine-year-old, husband, and I were fine, but our car was not. The money we saved to move into our own place went to car repairs.

Things seemed to be going from bad to worse, when I met Jewl with Catholic Charities. She was just what we needed at this low point. We joined the Catholic Charities SafeCare Program for the baby. SafeCare provided us with the information and tools needed to childproof our home and keep our crawling baby protected. Jewl also referred us to Catholic Charities’ Home Stability Program, where they provided our first month’s rent, and we were able to pay our deposit, with my husband’s first paycheck. At last, we had a home to call our own.

We were still struggling to make ends meet, and I was frantically hunting for a job when Jewl told me about the HIPPY Program where parent can serve by helping other families get their kids ready for school while earning and education award for themselves. Excitedly, I applied and was chosen as a HIPPY Home Visitor!

Now, my family is doing so much better. Our children are safe and thriving. My husband and I can envision a future for ourselves and our children. We are so grateful that Catholic Charities entered our lives, lightened and load, and helped us get back on our feet. I am serving as HIPPY AmeriCorps Member with Catholic Charities and love helping others, while serving with an agency that helps families.