Defying challenges, a family perseveres

As a tutor for CHSW helping children during her teen years, Krystina discovered once she became a mom that she would need to return to CHSW to receive support for herself and her own children.

“I was afraid to fail, afraid at first to ask for help,” Krystina said. “There was a time when I didn’t know where my kids and I would sleep, or if we would have a future.”

Krystina, now 29 lives with her six children ranging from preschool to fifth grade in Federal Way. She has disabilities which prevents her from working. Her youngest daughter Minnie, about to turn 3 was on a heart monitor and had other challenges. Krystina knew she needed to reach out and get help.

After connecting with our staff, Krystina partnered with a home visitor in May of 2017. They created a schedule together and talked about what services could help Minnie with her behavioral and emotional issues.

“My home visitor connected me to Birth to Three, and works with Minnie and I closely, which allowed my daughter to receive speech therapy and address her cognitive and social challenges,” Krystina said. “Minnie annunciates, no longer slurs her words and has become independent, calm, relaxed and communicative. A huge difference from last year.”

As Minnie became stronger, Krystina’s self-esteem grew giving her a voice not only for her children, but for other families. Krystina talked with legislators at the Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP Advocacy Day this past year. She is also a part of CHSW’s Board of Trustees and participates in the Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council, which is comprised of parents who have children enrolled in our early learning programs and who oversee the budget and direction of the program.

“Without CHSW, I don’t know how far my family would have gone in life,” Krystina said. “My family is stronger, Minnie is a totally different child, I got my credit up, and just bought a car. I didn’t realize CHSW had so many services and programs that were a perfect fit for what my family and I needed. There is nothing holding us back now.”

Jennifer Parsons is the marketing communications manager for CHSW.