Devona’s wish for her four children is that they “go to college, succeed in life and be something…and not just end up on the street.” So, in January 2014, when she found out her family qualified to take part in United Way of Lake County’s Home Visiting Program she was very happy.
Home Visiting delivers early intervention services to the homes of families with infants and preschool-age children who are struggling with poverty and who have limited access to health and community services.
Josephine, the family’s Home Visiting nurse monitors the family’s nutrition and provides health care and medical referrals as needed. When Devona’s youngest daughter, Amelia, turned one, Josephine provided a wellness visit to test Amelia’s physical developmental skills to ensure she is on track. And when Devona’s husband and son battled with depression, they received counseling referrals. The Home Visiting nurse and caseworker continue to provide oversight to document the care and ensure the family’s mental health needs are addressed.
Every other week Carolina, their Home Visiting caseworker, visits the home to focus on developing the academic and social skills needed for Kindergarten.
Carolina works with Devona’s four year old daughter, Adamaris, on identifying colors, writing her name, learning the letters of the alphabet, and other core Kindergarten readiness skills. When asked what her favorite color is, Adamaris answers “Red, pink, yellow, blue…all of them!”
Adamaris’s favorite thing to do when Carolina visits is to sing and dance together with counting songs and the Hokey Pokey. She also loved it when they planted a seed together. “I used my finger to make a hole in the dirt and then put the seeds in. I kept it by the window for sunshine and watered it and it started to grow!”
During the visits, Carolina coaches Devona on the skills needed to foster the healthy development of her children. Devona says that Home Visiting “helps me learn teaching techniques and shows me how I can teach my children.”
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Adamaris says “I want to be ‘Doc’ McStuffins and fix stuffed animals.” “Doc” McStuffins, a Disney character, is a six-year-old girl who wants to be a doctor and fixes broken toys in her backyard playhouse clinic.