Advocating on Behalf of Their Families

“I’ve got it, I’ll take care of it. I’ll find the best school for them,” a Strong Families dad recently said to Ale Castro, Back2Back staff and Director of Strong Families Monterrey. This family had enrolled their four children in the local school district last year, but this year needed to change districts. “Helping families find resources within their own communities is a key component of sustainability,” shared Ale. Prior to reunification, families assumed the children’s homes would provide for all their children’s needs. Now that they’re reunited, the goal is Back2Back would come alongside the families to guide and encourage.  

The father of this family took initiative and let staff know he would handle the calls and paperwork himself to change school districts for his children. He called three days later to inform them he found a school and enrolled the children. “This is something we celebrate,” shared Ale. “We want to recognize when the families make their own decisions and advocate on behalf of their children and themselves. This family is hitting so many milestones in sustainability.”

Once the children were in their new school, the parents realized a need for tutoring. The staff stepped in to identify specific needs, but were encouraged the parents already knew what was needed. Ale shared, “They said, ‘our daughter struggles with social and emotional skills, and is experiencing peer pressure ; this child needs reading classes; our son needs math help, and our youngest needs speech therapy.”

This kind of awareness, and understanding the power of using their own voices, is a milestone worthy of celebration. When families from hard places have long relied on institutions to help meet needs, they don’t realize just how capable they are of speaking up for themselves and their children. This is the power and vision behind the Strong Families Program – to help each adult and child find their voice and use it for their own good.

After naming what they needed for their children, they asked for help themselves. “The other day, you mentioned the term budget, but I don’t know what that means. Could you help me?” asked the dad. The mom followed up with her own question, “You’ve talked to us about nutrition, but I don’t know a lot about cooking, and I’d love to learn. What are healthy options for our family?”

“This level of self-awareness and the ability to ask for assistance is a huge success,” shared Ale. “They’re asking for help, because they want to be able to provide for their children and  themselves on their own. This is something we rejoice over for our Strong Families.”

A volunteer is offering her time to do cooking classes with mom, and staff are helping dad build a budget and pay off lingering debt with a consolidation plan. The family is working towards financial sustainability and economic independence.  Together, staff, volunteers, and sponsors are playing a part in strengthening families, as parents harness new skills and set an example for their children. The result is healthy and nurturing spaces for children to call home. This is a victory.