At United Way, we support local programs that help families connect with the resources they need to thrive.
While most people her age were planning parties, Tamara got a different kind of surprise for her 21st birthday: she was pregnant.
Having been told by a doctor that she couldn’t get pregnant, “I was shocked,” remembered Tamara.
With a history of extreme childhood abuse and struggling with an abusive relationship, Tamara didn’t have a support system in place. She knew she wanted a better life for her child and needed to find help.
“I’m a planner, so I called my insurance company and asked ‘what can I do to be more prepared for this?’,” said Tamara. “That’s how I found Safe Babies Healthy Families.”
Safe Babies Healthy Families, a United Way-funded program through EasterSeals Southeast Wisconsin, offers prenatal services, childbirth education, parenting programs and play groups for local families in need. Individualized case management is provided through home visits until the child is kindergarten ready.
Case Manager Lindsey began meeting with Tamara on a weekly basis. “She helped connect me to resources like birthing classes, a food pantry, and even transportation” remembered Tamara. “I had 101 questions and Lindsey had answers for all of them.”
After her fourth meeting with Lindsey, “I began to feel like ‘I can do this’,” said Tamara.
Of surveyed participants in United Way-funded Support for Children & Families programs, 96% knew people they could talk to or resources they could use when in need and 98% improved their emotional/bonding relationship with their child.
Tamara’s son Kyler was born that December, and Tamara enjoyed the mom’s group at Safe Babies Healthy Families. “It was great to know that other people had the same challenges with parenting as I did,” said Tamara.
As Kyler grew, Lindsey helped Tamara ensure that he was developing on track. “I always wanted to make sure Kyler knew what he was supposed to know by the right age,” said Tamara. “Lindsey helped me make sure Kyler was keeping up with those milestones.”
Last year, Tamara and Kyler graduated from the program and Kyler is now preparing to enter first grade. Tamara also recently married the love of her life, Courtney, who has been by her side since Kyler was 11 months old. “Lindsey was part of my approval process when we started dating,” said Tamara with a smile. “I still haven’t found his bad side!”
“When I met Tamara, she was determined to provide for her son differently than she had been provided for,” recalls Lindsey. “She was so committed to every aspect of the program.”
Says Tamara: “we are a stronger family because of Lindsey and Safe Babies Healthy Families.”
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