Originally from the Democratic Republic, Francesca* arrived in Denver in April 2016. The young mother of two arrived in the United States with very little knowledge of English, no income and no prior work experience. During her first 18 months in the U.S., Francesca faced a long, uphill battle toward self-sufficiency. Her daughter suffers from hearing impairment and was unable to initially communicate, which created further challenges to the family’s independence.
ECDC’s Preferred Communities (PC) team at ACC stepped in to help Francesca during these challenging months, and Francesca learned how to access resources in the community that could help move her family toward self-sufficiency. PC staff enrolled her in ESL classes, financial literacy classes, and at the local library; helped her apply for TANF assistance, social security income and energy assistance; provided donations of clothing and bus tickets; and, connected her to a support group for single refugee mothers.
Once her children were enrolled in school and daycare, Francesca began attending job readiness training with a PC AmeriCorps member. She learned how to apply and interview for jobs and how to navigate a professional environment.
Unfortunately, just when Francesca was ready to start working, her daycare decided that they would no longer take care of her daughter due to her special needs. ECDC’s PC team helped her overcome this barrier by working with the Denver Preschool Program to find appropriate care for her daughter. Eventually the PC team found a preschool that specializes in teaching hearing-impaired children, and coordinated enrollment and transportation for Francesca’s daughter, who now attends this school that understands and caters to her communication needs.
The PC team also helped Francesca to navigate the health care system to get her daughter fitted with specialized hearing aids. With both of her children taken care of, the PC team was eventually able to support Francesca to find a job to support her family.
Francesca is now financially independent with a full time job at Chik-Fil-A, where her bosses and co-workers love her upbeat, loving personality. Through ESL classes, her English has rapidly improved and she rarely needs interpreters anymore.
Most importantly, Francesca’s children are happy and healthy, and she has started sign language classes with her daughter. Through the support of ECDC’s PC program, Francesca has shown tremendous growth in knowing how to advocate for herself and her children.
*Client’s name changed to protect client’s privacy