Mario recently completed ParentChild+ at Southwest Youth and Family Services in Seattle, Washington. His mother, Elvira, smiled proudly as he posed in his white graduation outfit; but two years ago when Elvira first learned about the Program, she was nervous about having someone in her home and hesitant to participate. A friend in the community who had completed ParentChild+ assured Elvira that ParentChild+ was “a great Program that really worked for her family,” so Elvira signed up.
When they first started the home visits, Mario did not speak, often misbehaved, and did not enjoy playing. “He hit and cried a lot, and since he didn’t speak, the only time he made noise was when he was crying,” said Elvira.
Elvira saw positive changes in her son only a few weeks into the Program. He looked forward to the visits, and started listening, sitting, and participating.
“He loved all of the hands-on activities like puzzles and blocks. Those were the activities that he enjoyed the most. He always wanted to continue playing even after the visits,” Elvira explained. She was delighted when Mario began speaking, as well: “Now he just talks, and talks, and talks,” she said.
Elivra also began to see positive changes in her parenting style: “When I started, I would often yell and had very little patience. It was hard because he would cry so much and I didn’t know how to help him. But, my home visitor helped me get Mario in a routine and set rules and expectations for him. Now I can easily calm him down.”
Mario successfully completed the Program, and Elvira will be entering him into Head Start as soon as he is old enough. “Mario now remembers all the letters of the alphabet and can count from 1-20 forwards AND backwards!” Elvira proudly explains. They are both excited to continue reading, playing, and counting together over the summer using the books and educational toys they’ve received from the Program.
It was one of the proudest moments of Elvira’s life seeing her son in his first graduation outfit: “I was so happy because he deserved it. He learned a lot and I’m so, so proud of him.” Elvira is so happy that she enrolled her son in ParentChild+ and said she will definitely recommend the Program to her friends and community members.
The Southwest Youth and Family Services ParentChild+ site is supported with funding from the United Way of King County and the City of Seattle.