How much can change in a year? If you asked Odilia Marleny, she would tell you that the answer is, “everything.” One year ago, Doña Marleny was affiliated with Common Hope and doors to a better education, better health, and a better future began to open. She is an example of how our partnerships with families begin.
Asking for Help
Last year, Doña Marleny grew worried because her children were old enough to be in school but she couldn’t afford to send them. She noticed many children receiving support from Common Hope and she wondered if her children could, too. She approached the social work staff to ask for help, the first step towards affiliation with Common Hope.
There she spoke with a social worker named Ana, who had Doña Marleny fill out an application. The application was followed by an interview with the family, and then a visit to their home. Doña Marleny is the sole provider for her family, earning a very meager income selling used clothes. The social work staff concluded that her family needed a helping hand, and they were affiliated in order to receive access to our programs. Common Hope immediately began to work with her and seek out a sponsor for her children.
Two of Doña Marleny’s children started attending school in New Hope, but they struggled. Her son Edgar, now 6, started school two years behind his peers. When he began school, he couldn’t write even one letter and he didn’t know how to act around other students.
Love of Learning
Edgar began receiving one-on-one attention through a program called Aprendiendo a Crecer, or Learning to Grow. This program is helping him improve his handwriting and reading skills. Now, a year later, Edgar can read and write and he knows his numbers. He is very proud of his work and always shows his mom how he has improved. Edgar loves school and said, “They don’t punish us, they teach us. They don’t treat us badly, they teach us with love.”
Doña Marleny’s four-year-old daughter, Maydi, can also read a little bit now. With her mom’s help, she practices writing her name on a chalkboard that their social worker Ana gave to them. Doña Marleny says that both of her children love to study. She remarked, “They even play school at home, where Maydi acts as the teacher and Edgar is the student.”
Educational opportunities are not the only benefits of affiliation with Common Hope. Doña Marleny has received food bags when her family has had nothing to eat and her children also participate in a snack program at school. When they are sick, the entire family can visit Common Hope’s clinic to see a doctor and get the medicine they need at no cost.
Doña Marleny says that everything changed when she arrived at Common Hope. Now, her children are receiving the education she never had. She knows that they are safe, happy, and healthy. Doña Marleny can look to the future with optimism.