When our mom began our LEAF (Literacy Elevates Arizona Families) program this fall with her preschool child, we soon found out the she had been diagnosed with cancer. She was taking chemotherapy treatments and the situation was and remains quite serious. A few short weeks ago, the mom approached one of our staff and asked if they would take her baby with Down’s Syndrome and raise her if she passed away.
This situation was overwhelming to everyone touched by it.
Working with many organizational friends, the name of a local lawyer was given to us and the mom now has an appointment for a free consult regarding her immigration status and a quick review to see if she can be helped both with child custody issues surrounding her many children, and her own health issues.
We share this story because, although extreme, it is not particularly unusual among the families we serve. A Stepping Stone not only provides a literacy intervention for families caught in inter-generational poverty, but provides a stable environment that grows “social capital”. Our program helps families make important connections in their neighborhoods. These connections include other families, health care, social services, access to continuing education and job training and in some cases like the mom in this story, legal assistance.