Ana & Claire's Story
Ana is an 18-year-old mom with a 4-year-old daughter Mara and a 2-year-old son James. Ana is matched with a lovely volunteer named Claire. Ana and Claire’s relationship clicked from the beginning. Claire quickly noticed that Ana’s daughter was receiving lots of services because of her special needs, but Ana’s son was rarely the focus of attention. Claire started bringing Ana and James on weekly trips to the park and the library. Claire modeled for Ana how to talk to James instead of over him. She also emphasized the importance of reading books.
It didn’t take long for Claire to realize that Ana had no idea how to discipline James, a rambunctious toddler. Claire taught Ana how to distract James and divert his attention to positive outlets.
Claire also discovered that Ana struggled with reading and writing in both Spanish, her native language, and English. Claire set up two notebooks, one for Spanish and one for English. Claire and Ana took turns with the notebooks, writing in whatever language was assigned. Then, on their weekly visits, they exchanged notebooks and checked each other’s work. This helped Ana improve her reading and writing skills in both languages.
One of the most special things Claire did for Ana was at Christmas time. Claire found a second-hand prom dress in the back of a closet at the school where she is a teacher. Claire’s friend altered the dress to fit Ana. Then Claire threw a dinner party and invited several guests, all of whom dressed up so that Ana could wear her special dress. Ana and her children enjoyed being the honored guests.
Ana and Claire have been matched for one year, and they will continue the match into the second year. Claire has already decided that they will spend the summer focused on James’ speech, play and socialization. With support from Claire, Ana is making progress on her personal goals and learning to be a wonderful mother to both of her children.
Paige & Amanda's Story
Paige was 15 years old and six months pregnant when her high school counselor referred her to Sisters in Support. Paige was quickly matched to Amanda, a young single woman in her twenties. Paige and Amanda spent time together each week enjoying food and watching movies. They often texted between visits. Amanda, an experienced nanny, helped Paige prepare for parenting a newborn.
When Paige’s daughter Lola was born, Amanda was one of the first to hear the good news. Amanda, who has a considerable experience as a photographer, has carefully documented the first three months of Lola’s life. Paige shows off the pictures to anyone willing to sit down with her in front of the computer screen.
Not everything has been easy for Paige. She is still trying to navigate a complicated relationship with the father of her baby. She is also trying to manage school part-time work while parenting an infant. Amanda gives Paige advice about healthy relationships and managing her time.
Recently, Paige and Amanda, along with four other matched clients and volunteers, attended a four-session cooking class held on the D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s campus. Amanda and the other volunteers took care of the children while Paige and the other young moms learned to cook healthful, delicious meals. The whole group ate supper family style while sharing stories about their lives. Strong bonds were built among the participants.
When asked about her relationship with Amanda, Paige smiles and says, “She is my best friend in the whole world.”