WE LIVE UNITED by helping at-risk youth become better students and helping struggling households find their stability. Much of the work you support revolves around removing obstacles that prevent those living at or near poverty from attending school or maintaining their employment. For many of us, similar obstacles may be challenging but not impossible to overcome. For the 1/3 of Jackson County residents living in hardship, these obstacles may prove to be too much. By helping families and individuals work through any number of challenges, we can help them maintain or regain their stability and develop their pathway to success. The work we support through the Student Advocacy Center’s Bridges to School Success program identifies these obstacles, develops individualized plans for each case, and helps these students and families achieve their goals. Here is just one story of the hundreds of lives that have been impacted by this program.
A Bridges to School Success family advocate began working with Emma last year. Her attendance rate was at 55% at the time of referral. The first issue that they addressed was her vision. She needed special medication for her problems. Next, the advocate collaboratively developed an Attendance Intervention Plan, Emma ended last school year with a 66% attendance rate. Bridges to School kept the case open during the summer of 2017 in order to ensure that the family was ready to enter the 2017-2018 school year with consistent attendance goals. During the summer, services included: continued support to help the mother finish school; implementation of the Nurturing Skills for Families curriculum; identification of family activities for the Emma and her mother to do together during the summer; ensured medical needs were met; and budgeting assistance. This school year, Emma’s attendance rate was 93%. Emma says she enjoys attending school, and the teacher reports were positive as well. Her mother, who dropped out of high school 7 years ago, is enrolled in classes to finish her education. The Student Advocacy Center encouraged the family to work with Michigan Rehabilitation Services. The mom is also taking steps for them to move out of her parents’ and create their own home together. This family also completed the Nurturing Parenting curriculum, which for them, primarily focused on learning how to handle emotions, anger, and stress, as well as learning about and implementing a reward system for positive/appropriate behavior. Gift cards were also given out to the family for completing the assessments and Protective Factors Survey.
Emma is attending school regularly and now has a greater chance of being college or career ready upon graduation. Emma’s mother is continuing her education and is learning how to better manage their finances. Most importantly, these two have learned how to become a loving and nurturing family. Because of your support, Emma and her mother have developed their pathway to success and financial stability.