By Barbara Brill
Imagine how you might feel about moving into a community where you have no friends or family. You have four children, limited income, no home furnishings, and you just left your husband due to domestic violence. You are an African American family moving into an almost all-white community where you may not be accepted by everyone.
History and experience have given you no reason to trust, but your children need you no matter how you feel inside. Your faith is strong and you connect with a local church and ask for their help. Generous church members collect furnishings for an apartment and connect you with Turning Points Network (TPN), who helps you locate a place to live. Your pediatrician refers you to TLC.
As the home visitor meeting with this client for the first time, I knew making a connection was critical. Trust is essential and as I began working with this family it was evident that gaining this mom’s trust would be a challenge. After listening to her story I decided that if I were in her shoes I wouldn’t trust anyone either.
And so our work began.
Giving mom a chance to talk about what she needed and what her priorities were was where we started. They were her goals not mine and to her they were overwhelming. I simply helped her prioritize what she needed most and then supported her as she took steps to address each need. Each time she took a risk and reached out to connect to a service I applauded her efforts. Those small steps were not easy, but as she took them things began to improve for her family. Things seemed to settle down.
Then terror struck when she received an eviction notice from her landlord.
She was late paying her rent as another bill took priority. There was never enough money. She had never received an eviction notice before and she was frantic that she and her children would be placed out on the steps. Reading was difficult as she had a learning disability so seeing “Eviction Notice” was all she needed for panic to set in.
She took her children and fled into the night—back to an area where she had distant family, thousands of miles away—leaving everything in her apartment behind. She found it wasn’t so easy to reconnect there either. Supports she thought would be there didn’t materialize. Her children wanted to return to an area where they had started to make connections at school and where their apartment felt like home. She too had begun to feel connected before she left.
She took another risk and reached out to the supports she had identified in her new community—she called them. And with their continued support she decided to return home and try again.
When this mom came back, we began talking about what she might do when future challenges occurred. We used pieces from the Growing Great Kids (GGK) curriculum to design a security quilt made up of resources she could reach out to if something happened.
If the rent was due and money was short there were resources she could access. If she needed a ride when the bus didn’t run—she learned how to contact the local cab companies, she asked what their fees were, and how she could set aside a few dollars each month for emergency rides she might need.
With positive support at each visit her confidence grew.
She took small steps to add supports that would benefit her children such as the All-4-One Play Center and the Claremont Savings Bank Claremont Community Center. Each time we met she received praise for taking steps, for trying something new. Success wasn’t always there but praise was for her willingness to try. Her security quilt became larger and she gained confidence. When issues arose instead of fleeing she looked at other ways she might resolve them.
One year later mom remains connected with TLC and she and her children are doing well. She is a much more confident parent who knows her community, and knows how to access services. She is engaged in her children’s’ education, their health, and she has started thinking about going back to school to further her own education. She knows that she can face challenges that come up as she has a quilt of resources that will help her.
And, her children have watched their mom tackling tough issues, facing them head on, and working through them—lessons they will benefit from when they become adults and face tough issues.
Barbara Brill is a parent educator at TLC Family Resource Center. If you have questions or would like to find out more information, Barbara can be reached at email@example.com or 603-542-1848 ext. 321.
Here is a list from New Hampshire Children's Trust with 10 loving gifts to give to parents and families to help them out or to provide them with much needed support.
By Neil Allen
Scholarship season is now upon high school students who are starting to receive their acceptance letters from colleges and college students planning for the next year of college — finding money for school doesn’t end after the first year.
If you’re like most parents, the thought of your student having crushing debt after college is disheartening. There is hope — if your student is diligent. And, it can seem like it is a daunting task and a bit depressing when your student discovers that they’re not academically eligible or meet the income qualified requirements, they just need to dig a little deeper.
My daughter recently graduated from a New Hampshire college owing just $30,000 of the more than the $80,000 price tag for tuition and room and board for four years. Thankfully, my daughter qualified for a Pell Grant and federal student loans. She also found a number of scholarships and grants through local organizations and the college to cover many of her expenses. It was a yearly struggle to find scholarships and grants but it made a significant difference.
The good news is that your student’s guidance counselors have tons of information on local and regional scholarships. If you’re not hearing about them, ask your student if they’ve been getting the information. If they haven’t, then follow up with them and the guidance counselor to make sure you have the list as well so you know when the deadlines are and what is needed to apply. Also check with your town to see what they may have listed as well as local service organizations like the Rotary Club if they’re not already on the list from the school.
The Common Application for college now also offers scholarship help through Scholar Snapp under the Financial Aid Resources. The real benefit is that it will re-use the information already submitted to the Common Application on the scholarship applications, which will make the process faster and eliminate the potential for mistakes, and help you more easily identify scholarships you may be eligible for.
Once your student finalizes their choice for college, they can help reduce the costs by applying for scholarships and grants offered through the college itself. Your student will have to apply for each one of them individually as they all have different requirements and deadlines. The information will be on the college website or available through the admissions or financial aid offices.
If that’s not enough, there are tons of websites out there that list scholarships and provide links to them so that your student can see if they are qualified for them, such as Fastweb and Cappex.
And, if your student is qualified for the work-study program, make sure they start looking online early and apply for as many jobs as are available and will fit into their schedule. Most schools have fewer work-study jobs than students who qualify so students have to be diligent and watch the work-study job listings regularly for new opportunities.
Some tips to make applying for scholarships easier:
It is a lot of work and can be challenging, but it will make a huge difference when your student has graduated and is faced with having to pay for their education and the scholarships are offered for a reason—to make college more affordable. Do you have any tips for applying for scholarships or finding money to pay for college? Share them in our comments section.
By Liza Draper
In 2017, TLC Family Resource Center’s Rural Outright program helped launch a Gay, Straight, Trans Alliance (GSTA) at Claremont Middle School (CMS), which was named Rainbow Confetti by the students. It is a free, student-run club that provides a safe place for students who identify differently and their allies to get together, plan activities, socialize, support each other, and talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Rainbow Confetti meetings are held weekly on Mondays after school in the group advisor’s classroom. The members have observed national LGBTQ days, traveled to attend PRIDE events in Concord and Portsmouth, participated in a full day youth summit at Colby-Sawyer College, and celebrated LGBTQ History month. Most recently, we all learned to knit.
TLC supplied needles and yarn, then in December, Kara Toms (a student assistance provider at both CMS and Stevens High School) helped everyone “cast on.” Since then students have been working on rainbow scarves to sell at our first Rural PRIDE event planned for June.
Think back. Would you want to repeat your years in middle school? Academic and/or athletic overload, bullying, cliques, and dating drama among other things can make this stage of adolescence one of the toughest. Now imagine the impact on young teens with an additional stressor—identifying differently.
Data from the national School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) biennially indicate:
Studies have shown that knitting can be therapeutic, and that the benefits may actually exceed those associated with engaging in other handicrafts. Knitting is easy to learn, portable, calming and confidence building. One nurse practitioner in California saw that it helped reduce burnout in nurses who felt overwhelmed by their job, according Anna Medaris Miller in an article for US News and World Report.
“The craft’s two-handed, repetitive movements paired with its tactile, visual and emotional stimulation are among the aspects that make it especially effective, pros say. Knitting also offers a rare sense of control, in part because knitters can easily undo any mistakes and use that same yarn to try again. And, unlike many other crafts that require a stretch of dedicated attention, knitting can easily be picked up and put down again just a few minutes later,”said Miller.
The students are enjoying the chance to create something useful and feeling a bit less anxious and stronger with every row.
Do you use knitting for therapeutic purposes? How does it help you? Where can people learn to knit locally? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
At TLC Family Resource Center we support and strengthen all families, children, and youth in Sullivan and Lower Grafton counties with a wide range of free programs, support groups, education, and events.
109 Pleasant Street | PO Box 1098 | Claremont, NH 03743 | 603-542-1848 | Fax: 603-542-1846
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