This year, however, something changed for this family…a Carizon program was introduced at Rachel’s school called Families and Schools Together (F&ST). F&ST helps children to be successful in all aspects of life and strengthens families through structured, research-based activities that support parents and connect families, school and community. Recognizing Rachel’s struggles, the school encouraged the family to attend F&ST.
Rachel was excited for the new experience, but Margaret and Bill felt apprehensive and fearful of being judged as parents, not only because of their age, but because of their continuing challenges with Rachel. Their concerns dissipated the first night when during parent time, Margaret and Bill connected with other parents and felt affirmed in their parenting skills. Margaret and Bill were also linked with a community partner who helped them access resources to support Rachel. Most importantly, Rachel blossomed in the program. She gained new friends, learned social and communication skills, and bonded with the teachers and staff. Rachel beamed with pride the week that it was her family’s turn at F&ST to serve the evening’s meal to her newfound friends.
Today Rachel manages her emotions much better in the classroom and at home. She loves school and her only visits to the principal’s office are to say “hello” or share an important happening in her life. Margaret and Bill are feeling confident in their parenting and have a new sense of belonging within the school and their community. “It’s nice to hear how other parents deal with situations at home and different perspectives” was one of the sentiments they shared with Carizon about their F&ST experience. While the family completed their 9 weeks of the F&ST program, they are staying connected through F&STWORKS, an ongoing group for families where they can continue to receive support from each other.