When David and his family became homeless, David struggled with healthy behavior and development. Our Therapeutic Childcare Program, funded by our incredible donors, helped David and his family find their way.
David is 9 years old. He’s a third grader at a local elementary school in San Diego. David loves school, his friends and sports. Last season, he scored more goals than anyone else on his team. He also did well in school, achieving high marks on his tests and in his classes.
You wouldn’t know it looking at him now, but 5 years ago, David, his then one-month-old brother Andrew and his parents, Courtney and Derek, were homeless.
Homelessness is especially difficult on children—they’re often too young to process trauma and totally powerless to the circumstances of their family. For these reasons and more, children who are homeless are four times as likely to have developmental delays and twice as likely to repeat a grade in school. Over half will not finish high school.
David and Andrew looked to be headed down that same road, but Courtney and Derek were blessed to find Father Joe’s Villages’ family program and our Therapeutic Childcare Center.
Our program is specifically designed with the specialized needs of children who are homeless in mind. Additionally, Therapeutic Childcare understands that poverty and homelessness are traumatic and stressful for both children and parents.
When David started attending preschool at our Therapeutic Childcare Center, he was aggressive towards other kids: pushing and hitting were some of his primary communication tools. Developmental testing revealed that David had impulse control problems and struggled with spatial awareness. He consistently bumped into furniture and walls, was unsuccessful in discerning right from left and often failed to follow directions in class and at home. At only four years old, David was frustrated and unhappy.
Our professional team of Child Development Specialists and Mental Health Clinicians stepped in to help.
David and his dad attended therapy together to reinforce the bond between father and son and teach his dad supportive ways to address his son’s behavior. David met with an occupational therapist who helped him develop his gross motor skills and improve his spatial awareness. He was also assigned a student intern who worked with him one-on-one in the classroom helping him to control his emotions.
Meanwhile, David’s brother, Andrew, was slow to crawl and show other physical indications of healthy development. Therapeutic Childcare staff coordinated with a Physical Therapist, who helped him get moving.
Derek and Courtney attended a parenting class and worked on their long-term goals. Derek saved money from his job and Courtney worked with staff at Employment & Education Services to polish her resume and find a job with opportunity for advancement. She obtained one quickly and the family was able to move out to their own apartment after only 8 months. To ensure that the children would keep progressing, David and Andrew continued to attend Therapeutic Childcare.
When the family moved out, Courtney wrote in to say:
“Father Joe’s Villages opened a door to us when no one else could or work and without the help and guidance we received we would not be where we are today.”
Four years since their graduation from our program, Courtney and David have remained self-sufficient. Courtney has been promoted at her job and now works in management. They have two happy, healthy boys who are thriving despite their history of homelessness.
The story of David and his family is significant not only because of their success, but because it highlights the power of renewal.
As Easter and Spring near, the season calls us to also see renewal and beauty in ourselves and in others, especially people experiencing poverty and homelessness.
The second chance afforded to David and Andrew by Therapeutic Childcare demonstrates the great opportunity for renewal in the children who benefit from our programs and services. The program’s outcomes say the same thing. In 2017:
- 90% of children ages 0-12 increased their academic and life skills.
- 71% of children ages 0-5 increased their resilience.
- 100% of children ages 6-14 who read below the 4th-grade level showed an improvement in reading skills.
Donors who support our Therapeutic Childcare Program invest in children who may otherwise be overlooked due to unaddressed trauma, developmental delays, behavioral issues and challenges at school. Specialized, targeted support allows these children to realize their inner potential and overcome barriers to future achievement.
The success of our children represents a renewal of life and hope for all of San Diego.
Invest in renewal for our children in need. As little as $27 can give children the jump start they need to begin the journey for a better tomorrow.
I wish you a wonderful Easter season. Let our hearts remain full with the compassion of our resurrected Lord.
Yours in God’s Service to our Neighbors in Need,