Lea & Mason

PEP: Child Development & Education Support

Lea* migrated from Nigeria to the United States with her two sons in 2014 in search of a better life. For seven years, she found support and friendship through her church, but when Lea gave birth to her youngest son, Mason*, she knew she needed more help.

As a care aid for the elderly and a single mother, Lea worked hard to provide for her family and wanted to make sure Mason was growing and developing properly so that he was ready to succeed in school.

Lea was recommended to Kids Above All’s Parent Empowerment Program (PEP), a home visiting early learning program for families with children ages 0-3, but she was hesitant to enroll due to her immigration status. However, after talking with Kids Above All Parent Educator, Anastacia Cortez, Lea set up an introductory home visit.

During this first visit, Anastacia worked with Lea and Mason on an activity involving blocks, creating a warm and nurturing environment that both Mason and Lea enjoyed. Afterward, Lea officially enrolled in PEP.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Anastacia visited Lea and Mason in their home twice each month, but in March 2020, those visits switched to virtual. To support this transition, Anastacia and Kids Above All sent monthly activity boxes via the mail. These boxes contained essentials like diapers and wipes but also learning tools like toy bears that helped Mason start to count and identify colors. One of Mason’s boxes even had Legos so he could have fun building while working on his creativity and cognitive skills.

At first, Mason’s developmental screenings were normal, but after Mason turned two, the screenings showed lower scores in language development. He was unable to make sentences longer than three words or identify objects verbally, including his own name.

Anastacia explained the importance of early intervention and suggested that Mason begin speech therapy. Though Lea was again hesitant, she valued getting the support her son needed, so Mason attended therapy sessions at his daycare.

After some time in therapy, Mason was able to say his name, ask for things he needed, and greet others.

Throughout her family’s time in PEP, Lea continued to work but she also enrolled in school to become a nursing assistant. She recently completed that program, which will help her family achieve financial stability, and is in the process of finding full-time employment.

Lea is now on track to provide her family with a better life, and Mason, a recent graduate of PEP, is thriving in preschool.

*For our client’s privacy and safety, their name has been changed.

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