When Janice’s daughter was born 9 weeks early, Janice was single and working as a dental hygienist.
9 weeks is very early, and one result for Janice’s baby girl is that her hearing was very poor. The pediatrician referred Janice to and early intervention program and advised her to stay at home with her baby for the first year in order to foster her best development.
This was going to be hard, Janice knew, without a supporting partner at home. And she didn’t know how the dentist’s office would react to her quitting so abruptly. Still, she knew it was the best thing for her daughter.
It seemed impossible at first—until at one appointment, her doctor recommended that she call United Way’s Help Me Grow hotline.
Help Me Grow is a FREE information line connecting families to community resources and child development information. They offer services like general information on child development, developmental screenings, and referrals to community resources.
It turned out that United Way’s Help Me Grow was exactly what she needed. Janice’s needs as a single mother were far beyond what her doctor could offer, although he was skilled as a pediatrician. Help Me Grow, alongside the doctor, monitored the baby’s development, but they also helped Janice find resources for transportation, hearing aid loaner programs, signing classes for parents, and help from the Department of Workforce Services. This guidance was essential for Janice as she navigated caring for her daughter without being able to work.
Help Me Grow’s resource referrals and guidance made it possible for Janice to stay at home with her baby girl for two years. One day, the Help Me Grow specialists received a phone call. It was Janice. She said, “I got a job. I’m on my way.”
Janice is happily working again, and her daughter is thriving. Janice is one example of how United Way is helping families and children to be healthy, safe and secure. It’s also an example of how we are preparing kids to start school.