Giving Kids A Chance
Toby – Enrolled in a Child Development Program
When Toby, age 4, and his family arrived at the Peninsula Family Service First Step program, he had already been through traumas older people have never experienced. The traumas of homelessness acutely affected his mental development. At first glance, he appeared to be a normal four-year-old, but his ability to communicate was profoundly underdeveloped.
When Toby arrived at Peninsula Family Service he had never spoken, was developmentally at age 18 months and did not know how to interact with children his age. Within the first month, Mary, the site director, and Wendy, the in-classroom therapist, worked with him to begin communicating with words. At Peninsula Family Service, Toby quickly learned how to engage in healthy social interactions and started playing with children his own age. Toby is now speaking with clear words and expresses himself with the skill of someone closer to his age.
With the help of Peninsula Family Service, Toby’s world opened up a little more and he lights up when he see people he knows. Peninsula Family Service referred Toby to speech therapy and he continues to thrive.
Angela Vargas – Ways to Work Client
Angela knew she needed to make a change when addiction to drugs and alcohol left her and her teenage daughter homeless. With an affordable Ways to Work loan, Angela bought a reliable used Toyota Corolla and cut her commute time from two hours to ten minutes. She was finally able to go to college, receive a degree in the medical field, and move from a minimum-wage job to one that doubled her salary.
Surviving and Thriving
Shirley – Peninsula Family Service Fair Oaks Center client
The Family Service Fair Oaks Center has helped Shirley, 69, loose weight, teach others about Diabetes, and feel like she belongs to a community.
In 2001, Shirley, age 69, was overweight, suffered from diabetes, could only walk short distances, and had to use an oxygen tank. After her doctor told her about the serious health risks of her weight, Shirley decided to make changes in her life. She went to a presentation at the Fair Oaks Center, and she was inspired to change her diet and join a walking club at Fair Oaks. She started slowly by using a pedometer and walking for fifteen minutes, three times a week. She worked with the staff to develop her own fitness plan and she lost 100 pounds. In the past six months, Shirley was diagnosed, treated, and now is in remission as a cancer survivor, all while continuing to volunteer at Fair Oaks. In a recent example of her hard work, Shirley helped plan and participated in a presentation of “Living Well with Diabetes” at Fair Oaks. Now that she is healthier, she regularly takes part in the soul-line dancing class and other fitness activities at Fair Oaks. She feels she belongs to a community and is a vocal advocate for others in the center who want to improve their health and way of life.
Giving Children Hope and Stability
Zachery – Enrolled in Family Services Program
Zachery, 13, at the age of 7 was placed in foster care. The Family Service on-site supervised visits program helps him to stay connected to his biological mother and strengthen his relationship to his mom.
Zachery is a respectful, well-behaved 13-year-old boy who has been visiting his mother at the Visitation Center for 6 years. At the age of 7 he was placed in foster care because of his mother’s drug addiction, homelessness, and mental health issues. Zachery’s father was not involved in his life. At his age, adoption was unlikely, so Zachery was placed in a long-term, stable foster home with several other foster care boys. However, Zachery remains emotionally attached to his mother and comes for alternate-week supervised visits. Sometimes his mother shows up, and often she doesn’t, but Zachery insists on waiting to the very last minute allotted for the visit just in case his mom arrives late. Zachery’s foster mother maintains a relationship with the biological mother and sometimes provides her with transportation to appointments. Family Service obtained a grant for Zachery for orthodontia, and he will be getting his braces very soon.
Although Zachery’s story doesn’t have an immediate happy ending research shows that children fare better—emotionally, psychologically, socially, and financially—when they stay connected to their parents. The Visitation Center is there to help all children begin building their own happy ever after.