Three years ago, Monica’s sister passed away, leaving her suddenly to be the legal guardian and single parent to her two nieces and one nephew.
Understandably, her first year as a surrogate parent was overwhelming, and her nieces and
nephews began missing school. The following year, CIS-TN began a partnership with the school and I began working with Monica’s three children to support them socially and academically. I organized lunch buddies for the kids so they always had someone to eat with at lunch, and I coordinated afterschool programs so they had a place to go while their aunt was working. I recruited other students who were strong readers to be their reading partner. Taken together, these steps dramatically improved their school attendance and their overall outlook.
Despite getting thrown quite suddenly into parenting, Monica has fully embraced her role as the guardian of her nieces and nephew, and she cares deeply about their education. If the students have any issues at school, Monica and I immediately swing into action together. I’ve been able to be a partner to her, as she navigates how to be a parent.
When Monica unexpectedly lost her job because of COVID-19, she was unsure how she would be able to pay her bills. Afraid and unsure of her next step, she asked me for guidance. I was able to help Monica find emergency assistance to pay the family’s electric bill and file for unemployment. I also shared information with her about financial assistance for those impacted by COVID-19, as well as leads on some companies that were hiring. Monica and her children feel like they have a partner to navigate these tough times.