You’re the reason Natasha and Emma are thriving
In November of 2020 – during the midst of the covid pandemic – Natasha gave birth to her third child, Emma. Already challenging enough to have a baby during a time of isolation, baby Emma was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Natasha knew she would need more support than ever as a mother. As she navigated finding community resources, she was referred to Early Head Start (EHS). Here she found an incredible support system, fierce advocates for her family, and access to vital resources that would help Emma overcome the challenges ahead.
Although at the time of her enrollment in-person care was restricted, Natasha and Emma were able to start with virtual services. EHS’s Health & Disabilities staff supported her with Emma’s critical healthcare and therapeutic needs. Parent training provided ways to support Emma’s delayed development during the isolation of the pandemic. The teaching staff made monthly home visits and provided diaper deliveries. Natasha’s Family Engagement Specialist opened up a community of support by connecting her to other parents through virtual parent meetings, and shared community resources specific to the needs of her family. Through these connections, Natasha was empowered to take on a leadership role and was elected by her peers to become co-chairperson of the EHS Parent Policy Council.
“Having this level of stability to support my daughter and my family is what makes life possible right now,” Natasha shared. Because of your generous support, EHS was available to wrap around Natasha and Emma. What an amazing gift of community you have made possible.
When Emma started in-person at the EHS center full time in June 2022, her teachers built off the relationships already started and were able to take on the next big obstacles in her development. She was struggling to eat on her own with delayed hand-mouth coordination. In a matter of weeks, Emma made dramatic improvements and could enjoy new, nutritious foods all by herself! Doctors had told Natasha that Emma may never walk before age three – but after just two months at EHS she beat that obstacle too. With supportive daily care from her EHS teachers, Emma began taking steps at home and in the classroom.
Emma’s dental health was a growing concern, and Natasha was struggling to find a dentist to meet her unique needs. EHS met that need by bringing dental services to the center for every child through a partnership with Johnson Health Center’s Dental Unit. This service resulted in an immediate dental referral to UVA’s Pediatric Dentistry where she could have access to the special care she needed.
Emma’s achievements have not ceased to amaze everyone she encounters – she is learning new physical, social, and emotional skills every day. Her therapists come to the EHS center during daycare hours, which also helped Natasha return to work full-time.
Because of you, Natasha and Emma had the support they needed to overcome obstacles.
You changed Natasha and Emma’s life, and have given them the support system they needed. Because of you, Emma is defying the odds! Without you, she would have had a very different journey. Every day there are children, who much like Emma, need someone to walk with them and navigate challenging obstacles. Because of you and your support, help and resources are ready and waiting for a child in need.
Learn more about the Early Head Start program at HumanKind by visiting here.