March is National Social Work Month and St. Stephen’s Community House is celebrating our Social Workers, Community Service Workers, and Case Managers by sharing their stories and how they positively impact the lives of those they serve. According to the National Association of Social Workers, “Every day, the nation’s 680,000 social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society. ” We couldn’t agree more. Our first story is one of hope and resilience.
When Aundrea and her daughter, Georgia became homeless a little over a year ago she felt what most people do, despair.
“I had no idea what to do. I was scrabbling around in the dark, and that only added to my health issues.”
Worried about the effects of homelessness on her daughter’s well-being and education as well as her own health issues, Aundrea reached out to St. Stephen’s Community House’s Family to Family program for help.
“When I came to St. Stephen’s, they allowed me to know there was something else for me besides hopelessness,” Aundrea said.
LaTisha Addo, Director of Family Services, says identifying the critical needs of the families that participate in Family to Family and setting benchmarks through the year is instrumental to the program and families’ success.
“We continuously address the long term needs throughout the year, identifying the critical needs first, housing, food, employment, etc. Then our case managers make sure they are able to sustain those needs on their own going forward.”
For Aundrea, that was housing, income, and starting a healthy lifestyle to support herself and her daughter.
“After a year with St. Stephen’s, we do have permanent housing now, I do have income and stay up with my health,” Aundrea said.
“We visit the produce market to get healthy foods and I learned how to cook those foods, which are helping us get healthy inside and out.”
Aundrea and Georgia were able to participate in “Family Days” and have fun together with other family participants.
“What could’ve been a negative influence on her, [Family to Family] made us more of a team. Georgia has learned that she has a place and reasonability at home, and at school,” Aundrea said.
“I have so much respect for my mom and follow her example. I’ve learned about taking responsibility from watching my mom set goals and achieve them,” Georgia said.
“It’s hard to ask for help when you’ve always relied on yourself. But, St. Stephen’s Community House saved a part of me. They are part of my family now.”
Our Case Managers and Social Workers in our Family to Family and Kinshipcare Program work every day to identify barriers that are hindering success and then eliminate those barriers as a team. Participants in these programs are referred to St. Stephen’s Community House by Franklin County Children Services.