Stories of Resilience: El Paso Center for Children’s Impact
As we delve into real client situations, we will showcase the Center’s remarkable impact, the diverse range of issues we address, and the profound difference we make in the lives of those we serve. The following real client stories underscore the vital role the Center plays in our community and emphasizes why your support during El Paso Giving Day is crucial to our mission.
Resource Coordination and Housing Services:
I remember a 23-year-old single mom with three kids all under the age of 5. She needed assistance immediately because she was going to be kicked out of her home, was jobless, and was struggling with food and basic needs. I referred her to our Rapid Rehousing program, which serves youth up to age 24, and they were able to help her secure an apartment. I also gave her information about a job she should apply for, and she applied that very same day. She ended up getting the job, which was very exciting! Now she can provide for her three little boys. Seeing her success, smile, happiness, and pride really solidified how helpful our programs at the center are and how we are here to help our community.
Client Education and Resource Coordination:
A father arrived at a group training for parents. He was very quiet and hardly contributed to the conversation in the beginning. But once other parents started sharing, he clearly became more comfortable. He mentioned that navigating parenting challenges had become very difficult since his wife died. Before his wife died, he could work as many hours as he needed to, but since she passed he had to completely change his schedule, manage his time, and be strong for his two sons. After the class, he asked me if there was any way we could help him find utility assistance. The lost hours at work meant he could no longer make ends meet. I connected him with a community resource and he later called me to let me know how grateful he was that I guided him in the right direction.
Early Childhood Services:
A parent enrolled in counseling services after attending one of my parenting workshops. She was pregnant and needed help with her four-year-old who was having temper tantrums. She was open to learning new skills, setting a bedtime routine, and being more consistent for her little boy. They participated in Theraplay and continued coming as the little boy started preschool and softball. After a few months of working together, Mom noticed the difference in her child’s behavior. As we worked toward discharge, mom gave birth to another little boy. His big brother was immediately protective and loving. As we closed out services, Mom and her son each received a certificate of completion and a gift card to Applebee’s. They sent me a picture when they went out to dinner to celebrate his accomplishment.
Counseling and Education Services:
A mother came to us worried about her 11-year-old daughter’s self-confidence and worried that their communication was unhealthy. We worked together on “I” messages, seeking out opportunities to compliment and validate one another. They also improved their communication through a dedicated game night, taking turns picking the game. I gave them a “conversation jar” with slips of paper with different questions that they pulled out over dinner at night to help them have positive conversations. Within three months, they felt they were doing much better and we were able to close their file. Mom wrote me a thank you note saying she was so grateful I had taught her to spend more one-to-one time with her daughter.
We had a set of three children years ago who came to us highly traumatized after witnessing their father’s murder. They were placed together in one foster home and were stabilized and doing really well. Then the State decided to move them to the home of their maternal grandmother because they were under pressure to find them a permanent placement. Though we tried to question it, those decisions aren’t made by our team and the children were too young to express their preference. Sure enough, the youngest ended up coming back to us a few months later after a stay in a psychiatric hospital. The grandmother was ill-prepared to care for a child with a long history of neglect. Fortunately, we were able to place the child back with the foster mother she already knew and loved. Though we have no control over what the state decides for the other children, we are relieved that this little one is safe and that we will give her the best possible opportunities to heal and thrive as long as she is with us.
Youth Emergency Shelter:
15-year-old Sarah moved in with her dad in California because she didn’t like how strict her mom was. After getting into a fight on the phone with her mom one day, she and a friend decided to run away to visit friends in Dallas. When mom found out, she called every resource she could think of and authorities discovered they were on Amtrack and would be stopping in El Paso. The police contacted the girls and, because their mother was too far away to come get her, they reached out to us to see if we could keep the girls until their parents could pick them up. We invited them to bring the girls over immediately and supported them with food, peer support and a place to stay. After speaking with family and learning of their financial hardships and lack of transportation, our agency paid to fly them back home. We verified they returned home safely and followed up a few weeks later with the mother. She was very grateful that the Center was able to care for her child and get her home. She said her daughter was back in school, doing well, and was even offered a youth soccer scholarship.
Victims of Crime Counseling:
Cecilia came in for counseling due to being a victim of bullying and sexual assault by a classmate. She presented with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. She started coming to counseling in high school and would miss school and track meets often due to the severity of her anxiety. She was unable to speak about her feelings and, due to the sexual assault, she did not like to be touched (hugged), which was something difficult for her family to understand. We worked together on building her self-esteem, decreasing her anxiety, and healing from the trauma she went through during and after the assault. Client graduated from high school last year and is now attending UTEP. She is in a healthy relationship where she has been able to share her feelings and is now comfortable with affection not only from her partner but her family as well. Client is comfortable in the person she has become and does not worry about what people say or think about her. She knows how to create boundaries, communicate, and implement coping strategies when she experiences a trigger from the trauma. She still has sessions 1 x a month, per her request, “Just in case.”
Give on El Paso Giving Day!
Our goal this giving season is to score $50,000 to meet the needs of our friends and neighbors in El Paso who trust us to assist them during challenging times. Our donation boxes represent typical costs in our programs, and we promise to use your gift where it’s needed most.
We are ready to do the work; the bases are loaded. As a donor, you can become the MVP of helping youth and families face adversity and overcome trauma. So go ahead and swing for the fences! When we build a stronger community together, your giving is more than a donation…It’s a GRAND SLAM!!!