Families are Strong and Connected: Sierra Native Alliance
This is a story of a young Native Americian family with strong connections to their cultural heritage and tribal languages. In their early 20's, both parents also had a history of foster care, family substance abuse and had been in treatment themselves for substance abuse. Just before the birth of their second child, the mother contacted the Sierra Native Alliance Community Health Educator in crisis. The couple had had a domestic dispute and the father had left the area to stay with his family. In distress, the mother had entered labor prematurely and had no transportation or family in the area to watch her toddler.
The Community Health Educator was able to arrange child care, take the mother to the hospital, stay with her while she gave birth and get her home safely. The father returned shortly after the birth and made a commitment to work through issues in the relationship. He engaged in the White Bison recovery and Fatherhood is Sacred groups at Sierra Native Alliance. The mother engaged in the Women's Talking Circle and individual counseling to work through grief and abandonment issues. Through Shingle Springs TANF, both parents enrolled in school at Sierra College and were able to access child care resources while they attended classes and counseling groups. Both parents also participated in supporting the youth groups at Sierra Native Alliance.
Not wanting to repeat the history of family separation, the couple engaged in co-parenting sessions when they learned their third child was on the way. The couple worked on communication skills and a safety plan that includes friends and neighbors as a source of strength and healthy companionship when they need to spend time apart. Sierra Native Alliance continues to support this family in the process of their growth and development, and enjoys the blessing that their children bring to community dinners and events.
A Community That's Caring and Responsive - Reaching out to Fathers in North Lake Tahoe
One of the most successful stories of Community Collaborative of Tahoe-Truckee supported collaboration between the Tahoe funded First 5 partners has been the planning and development of father engagement activities this past year. The Tahoe partners recognized that there is both an opportunity and a need to further engage fathers of children age 0-5 in support services. Building on the success of the North Tahoe Family Resource Center's "My Dad and Me" event, the team developed a plan to ensure services and programs that are father-friendly, culturally appropriate and overall appealing to fathers. Initially, the partners explored what is working. They noted that the Truckee Family Resource Center has been providing legal services to an increasing number of single fathers and that the Family Room has also seen an increase in fathers accessing activities. The partners developed a plan to engage these fathers further and support them to access each others' programs. The next steps have been for the partners to develop a calendar of services and events specifically for fathers, and the KidZone is working with North Tahoe Family Resource Center to bring a speaker specific to father engagement issues.