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The Council for Economic Opportunities provides many services for the community and the effects of each specific program can be seen through every interaction with each client. For some clients the impact is greater, digging up the roots of some unfortunate circumstances and experiences while planting new seeds of hope, joy and a brighter future. Here’s a testimony of a family that is on their way to a better quality of life because of the work we do.

Imagine being a single parent of 4 kids, ages ranging from 2-10, with multiple of them having special needs; this was the reality for Raymond. Alongside strenuous household duties, Raymond was forced to work two jobs, which contributed to being overwhelmed to insurmountable levels. His children were having behavioral issues resulting in fights at school. On top of that, Raymond was reported to Children Protective Services for physically abusive punishments and inappropriate supervision; he was at risk of losing custody of his beloved children to the state. Hope seemed distant, but it was not lost.

Things began to change when Raymond attended CEOGC’s Piece by Piece Parenting Workshop where he was able to learn amongst other people who were struggling with the same adversities. Throughout the workshop, many parents shared that they too faced challenges with disciplining children; which in turn helped Raymond feel less shame about his struggles. The eight-week workshop included interactive topics from information about child development and developmental stages, stress management for parents to recognizing stress in children and how to find and access resources in the community. Here, Raymond gained communication skills and learned how to stop and think before reacting to his children’s behavior.

When the program was over, Raymond put his new parenting skills to work and almost immediately felt less stressed. His children became calmer because he remained calm when disciplining them. The reinforcement of what he learned in the workshops had a positive impact on not only his relationship with his children but also in his personal life. He learned how to manage stress and no longer allowed it to control him. After a successful discharge from the Parenting Workshop, Raymond decided to utilize a referral, given by his counselor, to connect with other parents who also had children with special needs. It was during these sessions where he became more confident in his knowledge of his sons’ diagnosis, becoming an advocate for both of them.

Today, Raymond has reported to his case worker that he’s feeling much better as a parent and has added daily self-care routines to his week. This has resulted in a higher wage, eliminating the necessity for two jobs. He attributes his new outlook on life to the Parenting Workshop and Counseling sessions he took part in here at CEOGC. For the case workers and employees at the Council, Raymond’s story of success is what makes the job worth it. We’re committed to our mission to invest in people, nurture their success and transform lives.

*Name changed to protect anonymity*