Real People, Real Impact
At CommUnify, we strive to make a difference in the lives of the individuals and families we serve. Stories like these are what we work towards every day!
Maria G.’s two children both participated in CommUnify’s Early Head Start and Head Start programs. During their time there, Maria was actively involved with and supported the agency in many ways – eventually becoming President of the Parent Committee – proving to be a valuable and enthusiastic volunteer. When a position opened in CommUnify’s Children’s Services Department, the agency offered Maria employment without hesitation.
“Head Start is not just for children,” said Lorraine Neenan, Children’s Services Program Director. “It serves two generations: children and parents/guardians. We help parents to be the primary teacher of their child by providing parenting education, community resources, and financial literacy. Maria is a terrific example of our program's vision – children and families navigating through life successfully.”
“This preschool program allowed my family to become self-sufficient, and grow as individuals,” continued Maria. “Today I'm happy and grateful to have the opportunity to also work for the agency. Head Start and Children’s Services has been a tremendous blessing in our life.”
Rosanna & Suzanne's Story
“My 88-year-old mother [Rosanna] fell and broke her hip while visiting us,” said Suzanne B. of Santa Ynez. After the accident, Suzanne and her husband made the thoughtful decision that Rosanna should come live with them in their home. But preparations needed to be made for the octogenarian to settle safely and comfortably in her new abode.
Suzanne called to request grab bar installation in the bathroom her mother would be using in their home. A Senior Home Repair Technician came out right away to install this safety measure at no cost. “Such fast service,” said Suzanne. “Physical therapists that came to the house to help mom recover from her fall also endorsed the services of Senior Home Repair.”
As Rosanna became more comfortable in her new home, she began to thrive in the warm and lively family environment. “Mom keeps saying how wonderful it is to be around her whole family,” said Suzanne. “She looks and feels better. Mom never used to eat – now that’s what she lives for,” her daughter said laughingly.
Family & Youth Services
In his first year of high school, 14-year-old Jose was kicked out for fighting and placed on probation, not an unusual occurrence for a young man growing up in “gang territory.” At his probation hearing, Jose learned about Los Compadres, and how the program for at-risk youth could support him in achieving his academic goals and meeting his probation requirements. He was immediately receptive to this help. Jose has since admitted that without this intervention, he was certainly headed toward gang life.
At his first Los Compadres appointment, Jose met Joshua Hurst, Program Mentor and Community Educator, “Josh is a cool guy, very respectful, and he does a lot for you,” Jose said. Josh tells us that he listens to “his guys” and their complaints, then together they figure out how to manage those stresses, often related to parental control and school structure. With the support of the LosCompadres program, Jose has successfully completed probation, improved his grades and home life, and is now ready to enter 10th grade at Lompoc High School. With guidance and encouragement, Jose is taking ownership of his future.