Winning through Empowerment

Earlier this year, Zaida A. of Hartford struggled to advocate for her elementary school-age son and secure basic resources including assistance with paying her rent. She was connected with Wheeler’s Community Support for Families (CSF) program through the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, CSF’s funder.

“My son and I were in need of many things, including special education services, counseling and help with meeting our living expenses,” said Zaida. “It was a challenging time for both of us.”

Zaida said she began working with Wheeler’s CSF clinician, Yvette Jaquez, and that’s when her life began to change. Counseling and Yvette’s help during meetings with her son’s teachers, as well as connection with basic needs resources, helped Zaida to stabilize her life. “She was amazing,” said Zaida of Yvette. “She was there when I needed her, and because of her help, my son is no longer afraid to go to class. In fact, he looks forward going to school, now.”

Community Support for Families is a program designed to assist families in strengthening natural and community support systems to maintain safe and healthy home environments. The program serves families in the Hartford and Manchester area. Clinicians work with families to identify unique strengths and needs, and to overcome barriers to meeting those needs. Wheeler’s CSF team helps families to establish links to community supports and services for food, clothing, shelter, mental health and/or treatment for substance misuse, and other services; works with families to identify and mobilize natural supports; provides information on parenting and child development or other interventions to increase safety for children; and supports parents’ connections with their child’s school community.

“This program empowers and encourages families to identify their needs and take the lead role in their own plan of care,” said Yvette. “Our goal is make families functional and whole. This was certainly the case with Zaida and her son. She’s a fighter, and she’s winning.”

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