Anonymous (Sac County Head Start - New Opportunities, Inc.)
When asked about a success story, one particular family, whom I worked with all last year, came to mind.
He is a single father of two small children. He was in the service, and had been stationed in Iraq. Upon returning to the United States, to re-unite with his children, he found himself in a huge crisis with his children and their mother. The children's mother and gotten into trouble and was put in jail, while the children were placed in relative care, by DHS. Due to all the stress of being away from home, coming back to NOJOB, NO HOUSE, and fighting for his kids, he turned to alcohol for comfort. Within a very short time, he was suffering from alcoholism, as well as Port Traumatic Stress Disorder. Realizing that he needed help and that his children needed HIM, he began treatment in Fort Dodge. It was around this time, the Head Start Family Advocate met him. He and his children were living with extended family. He was not working, and was contemplating about going back to college. He was extremely overwhelmed with all that had been put on his plate, since his return from Iraq. I could tell by visiting with him, that although his family was there to help and support him, he was still in need of more. He needed some "direction". We had some great, deep conversations about his goals for himself and for his children. We started writing down his strengths, things he enjoys, things the children enjoy, and really focused on "attainable' goals. One of his biggest priorities was to find employment and to get himself and his children into a house of their own. The next few months, he enrolled in classes in Ft. Dodge, where he was able to continue his counseling treatments and attend college simultaneously. As the year went on, visit after visit, things seemed to be getting better and better for him. When the school year ended last year, he had moved out of the extended family member's home, and had moved in with his father, which still wasn't exactly where he wanted to be, but he was getting closer. This year, I have the privilege of working with him and his children again, and when I called him to schedule our very first home visit for the year; he EAGERLY gave me his new address: his very OWN address! He was thrilled to tell me that he is officially in his own place with his children, and no longer relying on other family to put a roof over his head. He is continuing with his college education, and looks forward to being even more involved with his children this year. I am looking forward to working with him as he continues his journey.