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It Takes A Village

Meet Chris and hear how SBS gave his family a community!

June 13, 2024

It is no secret that raising a child can be challenging. It’s even more challenging as a single parent. When you surround yourself with a strong support system, it can make navigating parental challenges easier, and that’s exactly what Chris did in our School-Based Services program at Fairmont Elementary.

Chris and his two children live in Southern Indiana. Their mother lives out of state and has battled substance abuse for years, which led to Chris becoming a single father raising two young kids.

Last fall, an employee at Fairmont recognized behavioral patterns and a developmental delay in the youngest child, which they suspected was due to the mother’s substance abuse while pregnant. This led to both children, and Chris, being referred to the Healthy Family Nights program at the school.

Healthy Family Nights is part of our School-Based Services program at Family & Children’s Place. This free 10-week program focuses on family engagement, such as how to relieve stress and manage finances, as well as having social activities to participate in.

Last fall was the first time we offered Healthy Family Nights at Fairmont. As any first-time program goes, attendance was low, and commitment was sparse, but that didn’t stop Chris and his children from participating in it.

When they first joined, they didn’t know many people and at times felt lonely. With attendance being lower at Fairmont, Chris felt he wasn’t building the community he longed for his family to have. That is when they started attending the Healthy Family Nights at Hazelwood Middle School, on top of the ones at Fairmont.

By doing this, Chris was able to participate in various lessons such as learning about healthy foods, how to talk about the dangers of vaping with his kids, navigating parental stresses with others in the group, how to make a basic first aid kit, and how to manage kitchen safety.

His kids were also able to make more friends and were (literally) welcomed with open arms by other adults and kids enrolled in the program at both schools.

During the lessons, Chris started to make friends with other parents. These new friendships came in handy, especially when Chris’ son contracted lice, because he had no idea what to do. One of the other dads learned about it and took it upon himself to help Chris out and in return, Chris helped fix his car!

A few weeks later, Chris was invited to a Cincinnati Bengals game with another dad in the program while another mom in the program watched the kids. He had the best time at the game and realized he had finally found the community he wanted for his family.

We are very grateful for the work our SBS team does to help families like Chris and his kids. It takes a special person to be willing to do something you have not done before. We are so proud of the work Chris and his kids have accomplished since joining our program last fall and are very grateful for the other parents that stepped up to help him out when needed. As they say, it takes a village.