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“ChildStrive didn’t judge me by my past. They just look at who I am today. I can’t dwell on the past; I can only build for the future”. These are words spoken by Minerva Rivers who, along with her 4 children, is participating in ChildStrive’s Parents as Teacher’s program (PAT).
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Minerva is a survivor! That was my first impression of this young woman who was born in Chicago and primarily raised by her grandmother. I was captivated by her spirit and love for her family. Minerva believes that the lack of a true mother-figure in her life caused her to make some poor choices. She had her first child at age 15 and has struggled through many challenges since.
Once Minerva decided to accept help, there was no stopping her. Minerva enrolled in the PAT program at ChildStrive because she said something as simple as playing with her own children was foreign to her. As a child, interaction with adults was minimal. She needed help learning this basic skill.
“The PAT program showed me that I had parenting skills I didn’t know that I had,” said Minerva.
Kendall Appell is Minerva’s educator with the ChildStrive PAT program. She recounts how Minerva was very skeptical in the beginning of their relationship. As soon as trust was built between the two women, and Minerva could see that Kendall was not going to give up on her, things began to change. “Throughout our work together, I have seen Minerva become confident in her parenting decisions. Now when we meet, she tells me proudly about a recent success in her home. The confidence she has built will benefit Minerva and her children, and will help her meet the wonderful, focused goals that she has for her family.”
Minerva is currently enrolled at Edmonds Community College where she is working towards getting her GED. She has a dream of starting her own non-profit and becoming a motivational speaker. She truly believes that she will be able to change lives life by telling her story. And I have no doubt she will!
Minerva is just one of many who are learning to help their children get a better start in life than they did themselves. We want to continue to support them in providing a better life for their children who are also our future. Please consider helping us make a better future for us all.
For more information about ChildStrive's PAT program, click here.
Click here for Play and Learn group schedules.
Founded by parents and the South Snohomish County Exchange Club in 1963, ChildStrive is a community-based service provider for families with children, ages birth to three who have developmental disabilities, developmental delays, or are at risk of falling behind their peers.
Our success stems from a foundational belief in family empowerment and a strength-based intervention model that maximizes each child's abilities so that they can succeed in school and in life.
ChildStrive's highly qualified Occupational and Physical Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Special Educators, Nurses and Counselors create customized family service plans that ensure each family member is an equal member of the early intervention team. We use a hands-on coaching model. Our staff support and empower parents, enhancing their capacity to meet the special needs of their infants and toddlers, in the child's natural learning environments – at home, at their child care center, or in other community settings.
After 50 successful years of changing lives and optimizing development for infants and toddlers with special needs, we look forward to continuing this important work, and making a deep and lasting impact on the families in our community.