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Canesha and Camora's Story
Camora Brown, 2, looks just like her mommy. She loves to be read to, is incredibly vocal, and eats all of her food groups. She’s a little girl who is sure to do great in school. Her mother, Canesha, attributes her success to a lot of love, dedication and help from ChildServ.
Canesha came to ChildServ when she discovered she was pregnant with Camora. A student who had just started at College of Lake County, she knew very little about children and was concerned about her ability to stay on track in her studies as a new, single mom.
“I really wanted to be a good mom,” Canesha says. “I hadn’t really done much with kids before I became pregnant. When I had Camora, she was so beautiful; it was love at first sight.”
Canesha enrolled in a ChildServ program called The Parent Education Program (PEP). Through PEP, ChildServ helps at-risk infants and toddler (age 0
to 3) in Chicago and Lake County have the best chance possible at early school success by empowering their parents with the tools, skills and confidence they need to serve as their child’s primary educator. The goal is to keep children on-track from a developmental perspective and, over the long term, improve school readiness through both group meetings and home visits.
Samantha, Canesha’s parent educator at ChildServ, visited her in her home every week to make sure Camora’s learning would be on-track. She assessed them to help Canesha create the best environment possible for Camora to learn, looking at things from safety, to health insurance to financial stability. Every six months, Camora was assessed for social development, motor skills, language ability and early problem solving. Every year, Camora was screened to make sure her vision, hearing and basic health were good.
In addition, ChildServ’s meetings for teen moms helped Canesha find peer support and provided an avenue for Camora to learn to share and interact with other children.
Almost three years later, both Canesha and Camora have made incredible strides. Canesha has completed her pharmaceutical technology certificate and is applying to nursing programs. As a mom, Canesha knows how to recognize whether Camora is reaching her developmental milestones. Camora has developed a love for books, has excellent social skills, and is on track for kindergarten.
Having two young boys can be a challenge, but Isabel, of Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, has a schedule and a plan to give her sons the best possible start to their educations. She’s an active participant in ChildServ’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, and she’s excited to be the first teacher in her children’s lives.
Isabel was referred to ChildServ from the hospital where she had her second son, who was born prematurely. At first, she was concerned about the amount of material that was involved with the program, but by her second home educator visit, she was hooked. The educator was kind and organized, and Isabel was impressed with the guides to help children.
“It’s precious time with your child,” Isabel says. “You’re sitting with them; you’re being the teacher. We learn how to teach our kids. Sometimes you don’t know where to start, and this is a good way to start.”
Isabel said she and her sons have also benefited from someone coming into their home. With two children of different ages, their lessons differ, so having an in-home educator means that they can both be taught in the same place.
“I just love this program. They bring you everything,” Isabel says.” What else can you ask for?”
Through HIPPY, ChildServ helps at-risk pre-school children in Chicago have the best chance possible at early school success by empowering their parents with the tools, skills and confidence they need to serve as their child’s primary educator. The goal is to improve school readiness through both group meetings and home visits.
Since beginning HIPPY, Isabel has seen her sons make great strides in learning. They have learned to color, use pencils and work with scissors. Her oldest son has started school and did extremely well in a classroom setting, something Isabel attributes to his preparation through ChildServ. She’s also excited about both of her sons’ love of books, something that she hopes they carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It’s been a long road with many unexpected turns, but with the help of ChildServ, one Chicago teen has finally found the path to success.
Eighteen-year-old Grace* first came to ChildServ in December of 2011. After being put into state custody at the age of 6, she experienced difficulties before finally being placed into a ChildServ group home.
Having been disappointments in previous placements, Grace believed her new home would be no different.
“I expected the worst for everything, everyday,” Grace said. “So when I arrived at the home, I was expecting staff who where only there for the money and broken kids that fought and yelled all day.”
Much to her surprise, the ChildServ home turned out to be anything but what she expected.
“[They] really cared,” she said. “They made sure I made it to my appointments and always asked if I was okay.”
However, even with the help of caring staff, Grace kept resorting to her old habits of drug and alcohol abuse.
“Both the school and staff were worried,” Grace said of her struggles with substance abuse. “One staff in particularly cooed over me. She cried and said that she was scared about me out there.”
With the help of a residential rehabilitation program, Grace was finally able to kick her addictions and return to ChildServ.
“I came home with a maturity and a new perspective on my own life,” she said. “I am worth more than I gave myself credit for. I have sisters that love me and adults that have stayed by my side through everything.”
“This was a long, consistent struggle and I am proud of who I am now,” Grace says. She credits her ChildServ mentors for helping her overcome her struggles and find the path to success. “Thank you for never giving up on me when I did. I would not be here if you hadn’t.”
*For the client’s privacy, her name has been changed.
Timothy becomes a proud graduate
Timothy* is, in many ways, a typical college student. At 20, he is finishing up his sophomore year of school, and he spends virtually every minute of his day in class, studying, or at his job. He works as an information technology specialist at a local university and is getting his bachelor’s degree in computer science.
But Timothy’s background is far from typical. As one of 12 siblings, he was a ward of the state from age 7 to 14.
Timothy says he is proud that his mom attended every court appearance and counseling session necessary until he was reunited with her. Still, as he neared his high school graduation in 2010, he struggled with having a regular place to sleep within his mother’s house due to the number of rooms and beds in the residence and the number of people living there. At 17, he was shot in an episode of neighborhood violence. Concerned for his safety and in need of a bed within a stab