March 28, 2019
Reach Up Case Manager
“When thinking about the Milton Family Community Center many things come to mind. My family and I have relied heavily on this place and the people who work here, during this past year. Our first look into the community center for me was a terrifying, as I have severe social anxiety.
Unlike many people we know in our community we became homeless in June of 2016. As a parent of a then one and a half year old it was terrifying. Everything seemed to be spiraling out of control until we met with our Reach Up case manager. She was amazing with her help to connect us with other support services that the center offered, such as childcare, financial assistance, and food security. She gave us hope, when we really didn’t have any, allowing us to feel as if our family mattered more than just a statistic, but as individuals.
Part of the help she gave us was introducing us to Charlotte, so that we could receive financial aid from the center to help us with one month’s worth of storage fees. Let me tell you, if you or anyone you know has ever been homeless you will appreciate the ability to keep items that you have worked so hard for and or have so many memories with. If we would have lost them it would have been devastating to say the least, because of this generosity, when we moved into our new home in October 2016, we were able to transfer our items with us, and we could not be more grateful for that opportunity.
Then there is Kelly, who was my husband Nathanial’s former Para educator, is quite an extraordinary woman with a powerful charisma. Every time I see her she has a smile on her face and she sees you as the best person you could ever hope to be. Since our initial meeting, she and I have become good friends. With her guidance during our parenting classes we have been able to gain the confidence we need to become the parents we want to be. She is an inspiration not only to me but to others, giving me the courage to overcome my obstacles, just as she has in her life.
Katharina and Martha are one in a million, I can not express how wonderful these two teachers are, and especially given my child Lucille has a one plan and will be transitioning to the EEE program when school starts back up after Labor Day. Her ability to receive her services at school is very important as she has a developmental educator and sometimes a physical therapist and these ladies help her make the most of these sessions. This is so detrimental to her being where she is today, see Lucille was born ten weeks early and had so many delays. It was originally thought that she may not be able to walk/ talk/ even survive, but because of their care she has beaten the odds. These ladies have made my child see the potential she has and they never treat her different from any of the other children, even their own. When I think about them it makes me cry, of how she wouldn’t be where she is today, without the encouragement and energy they put into my child, let alone the others in their care.
Throughout our experiences with this remarkable staff we as a family have gained so much more than we ever thought possible. The love and outpouring of support is a gift that many may not ever know in their lifetime, and we feel blessed that our daughter is able to see and experience these traits. As she gets older, these will help shape her into a wonderful human being, which we can all be proud of. To call this place a community center is so much more than a name, they treat you as a part of them. Its one big family that continues to care for each other long after the kids have grown, and moved on. The relationships I have with each one is immeasurable and will never be taken for granted. People often say it takes a village to raise a child, well this little village is amazing and I hope they continue to get the support they need to be able to continue helping families like mine.”
Women With Purpose Story
Seventeen years ago a group of women got together for lunch. All were of low income, isolated, and struggling with health issues. Some were battered and substance dependent. Each had the desire to connect with others, and improve life for themselves and their community. They decided to call themselves “Women with Purpose”. Over time, their dedicated membership formed the core of the MFCC volunteer workforce. As volunteers, they catered MFCC Annual Meetings, conducted yard sales to raise money for the Center, planned and served a meal for first responders engaged in a rescue mission, and other community oriented activities. Their weekly meetings include a lite meal, conversation, and guest speakers to share information on topics such as parenting, problem solving, financial management and self- esteem building. Occasionally, they plan field trips to local areas of interest, such as the Shelburne Museum. The women openly state that they don’t know where they would be without this group which has helped them make friends and gain access to valuable resources. It is their deepest desire to share their stories with other women, and help others decrease isolation and increase support networks. Women With Purpose has welcomed and encouraged younger parents from MFCC’s Learning Together program, to join them in their weekly discussions, allowing for women of all ages to share advice, experience, and wisdom across generations, as they continue to discover and expand their purpose and contribution to our community.
“The Milton Family Community Center is more than the typical community center. The impact that they have had on my family has been more than helpful.
For starters, their daycare is filled with loving staff that my grandmother trusted to care for me in 2001-2004 up until I was ready for kindergarten. Now, my daughter is thriving in the MFCC Early Childhood Education program. When money gets tight, there is the Emergency Food shelf available for people in Milton and surrounding towns. For families with pets, partnering with Lucy’s House lets MFCC offer food for ‘furry family members’. On top of these amazing benefits, MFCC partners with Vermont Adult Learning to hold adult learning classes in their building which is helpful to students who learn differently or need to balance life, work, and education. This is especially helpful to single parents. Education is important to parenting. I am a recent graduate of Milton High School and finishing school while parenting was not easy. I was fortunate enough to stay in school and graduate with my class. Others who face challenges in life are not so lucky. That is why being able to come to adult learning classes in the local community is important. MFCC holds parenting workshop and other events that allow the community to come together share experiences and laughs while they grow together.
MFCC has always been a welcoming, loving environment that I would recommend to anyone.”