Our United Way’s impact reaches far and wide in the El Paso Community. It touches all walks of life thanks to collaborations with community partners, organizations, donors, volunteers, and readers like you. Parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. It can feel tricky and uncertain at times, which is why parents and caregivers sometimes need a helping hand. Meet Alejandra. A working mom who recently moved back to El Paso to start a family.
Alejandra found that being back in her hometown had given her a better sense of community, but she still felt that, as a first-time mom, she needed a little extra support. Alejandra explains, “No matter your background, you are not born with the skills to handle the experiences that being a mother brings".
With her first child on the way, Alejandra began doing a bit of research and was connected to our Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. PAT is a free, evidence-based, award-winning home visitation program that supports early childhood development by teaching parents and caregivers about important milestones and school readiness. The program is available to anyone expecting or has a child between 0 and 5.
Since being enrolled in the program, PAT has been a great support to Alejandra as she navigates the journey of being a first-time mom. Alejandra has the help of her family and community, but PAT has also been a great source of valuable information. “I have my family...also literature, YouTube, and all sorts of places to receive input, but it’s not the same as the support that I get through this program [PAT]”, states Alejandra.
An integral part of PAT is the parent educator, who crafts and personalizes home visits to meet the needs of each unique family they serve. Alejandra's parent educator, Tali, has supported her and has helped Alejandra overcome unexpected hurdles and challenges, such as going through postpartum and finding different ways to connect with her son, Oscar.
“I had a lot of unexpected hurdles. For instance, my son was born with a chronic condition that resulted in me not being able to breastfeed... When she [the parent educator] showed up, she had me use the olive oil to massage Oscar's toes and talked to me about ways I could still bond with my baby. It was really touching."
“Postpartum turned out to be the most challenging phase for me—more than pregnancy or labor. I think Tali could read it on my face, and she took time to meet with me more often and walk me through my situation. On top of her understanding, Tali is trained... and shows me that I am on the right track”.
Thanks to your support, Alejandra’s story is just one of many about how our local United Way leads and funds programs are driving impact in El Paso.