Finding Superhero Powers: Early Education Support for both Parents and Children

United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties.

YWCA BABY T.A.L.K

INVESTMENT DATA OVERVIEW

Baby T.A.L.K. (Teaching Activities for Learning and Knowledge) is a program connecting parents and children birth to school-aged with specialists who help guide them in interactive play-based learning activities.

In 2018, nearly 400 expecting parents or caregivers received Baby T.A.L.K consultations.

Nearly half of all parents enrolled are 100% below the federal poverty threshold.

Through the generosity of our donors, United Way has invested $25,657 in YWCA’s “Baby T.A.L.K” program during the 2018-2019 funding cycle.

Looking at my sweet son Jamile pretending to be superhero as he “flies” across the room, one would never suspect he has a learning disability. Yet he does. And, if anyone understands what this hurdle is like it’s me. In fact, it’s often hard for me to watch Jamile without memories of my youth flooding back to my mind…

I remember the stress of my struggles. The countless days when I’d come home from school frustrated and ready to quit. My mom would try to help.

“Mia,” she’d say with tired eyes after a long day of work. “What’s the matter honey? Want me to quiz you on your spelling words?”

But, quizzing never worked. I just couldn’t get anything right. Mom would wrap her arms around me and tell me to keep trying. She wanted me to succeed, but she didn’t know how to help.

Eventually, after years of struggle, I was diagnosed with a learning disability. We had answers around why I struggled, but answers are not necessary solutions–especially when it comes to learning support at home. Emotional support was my mom’s only weapon in her parenting toolbox.

“My mom was forever my cheerleader, but never found a way to support my learning needs from home.”

I wanted to be able to give my son more. I knew how much struggle I had faced with my own disability. So, when I was introduced to YWCA’s Baby T.A.L.K. Program, I jumped at the opportunity to participate.

Since starting Baby T.A.L.K., the Outreach Parent Specialists at the YWCA have provided me with so many additional resources to support Jamile’s learning. They give me fun learning activities to do with him and talk me through how these help further his development. Even more helpful, they create specific goals for our next visit like: “Jamile will be able to say his address” and “Jamile will be in bed by 9 pm each night.” Jamile is always so excited to show our Specialists what he has learned.

“The Outreach Parent Specialists remind me of the great work I am doing to take care of my little superhero.”

Like my mother, I am Jamile’s cheerleader. Yet in addition, I am connected to community resources and constantly learning new ways to engage and support him through the struggles that a learning disability can bring.

Time and time again, I’ve wished my own mom would have had access to a program like Baby T.A.L.K. She supplied the only support she knew–love. Love is powerful, but the support tools I now continue to build as a parent through Baby T.A.L.K. provide me with so much more.

Watching my son dance across the room, I turn to the mother standing beside me. “My son’s smile is his superhero power.” I wink at her as I prepare to dash off to help him “save the day.”

Jamile is amazing, and his smile has the power to bring joy anywhere. However, I too have Superhero powers–I have the power to give him support and Baby T.A.L.K has helped me do this.

*This blog post is based on a true story / success narrative from the YWCA Baby TALK Program. All identities of submitted success stories are anonymous for privacy and story details have been added in order to provide a better understanding of the individual’s successes and struggles.

Change Maker Action: Because of your support, individuals in our community are able to access educational services that change, or have great impact on, their lives. United as one, we can change the story of many.