Click the images below for stories from our program participants and staff.
One morning, MCHC’s Phoenixville site received a call from the Phoenixville Hospital regarding a young woman who was six months pregnant with her second child and had tried to kill herself that weekend. Acting quickly, MCHC’s Healthy Start Family Health Advocate (FHA) immediately reached out to the distraught mother to hear her story and offer her the support MCHC’s Healthy Start program could provide to help her through this pregnancy. During her pregnancy she was also unable to work and found herself struggling to meet ends and to put food on the table. Monthly Healthy Start home visits began and she delivered a healthy baby boy three months later. With the help of her FHA, everything necessary for her to begin to raise her newborn son was available such as a car seat to bring him home, a Pack ‘n Play, diapers, newborn clothes, and other necessary supplies. Her son received newborn medical care through health insurance obtained with the assistance of her FHA as well as food stamps for the family.
A greater trust began to build during continued postpartum home visits and unfortunately her MCHC FHA discovered the mother and her five-year-old daughter were experiencing abuse by her partner. Afraid to tell anyone for a long time, the mother confided in her MCHC FHA, who then encouraged her to report it to the police. Her MCHC FHA also accompanied her to her daughter’s school to report the situation and helped her to seek medical care at her local community healthcare clinic. She was also connected to domestic violence and crime victims services, and therapy and counseling to help support her and her children.
Making significant progress in her therapy over the next few months and with MCHC’s continued home visits and support, she was able to return to her job. She is also attending English Language Learner and other computer literacy classes with her daughter who is also now making great progress in school. She and family are now living in a safe place where they can thrive and grow.
MCHC’s Family Center hosts a Kindergarten Transition Program every summer for children in southern Chester County school districts to prepare for kindergarten. For many of the children who participate in the program, this is their first experience in a classroom setting, which can be very overwhelming. Over the course of two weeks, they overcome challenges with leaving their parents for the first time, interacting with peers, and learning other basic skills that will prepare them for their first year of school.
One summer, 4 year-old Michael joined the Kindergarten Transition Program. In the beginning, he had a hard time keeping up with the other students, including with writing his name. The MCHC staff teachers noticed him struggling and gave him more one-on-one support including meetings with his parents to share ways to support his learning at home. We introduced creative learning activities like making and identifying shapes with Play-Doh, tracing his name with colorful markers, and soon he was able to write his name on his own. His confidence grew and he was enjoying interacting with the other kids. On graduation day, he prously gave his parents a personally "autographed" artwork that he made during the program.
A special part of the work that we do is seeing the world open up for children through learning. Every year, we see upwards of 30 students through the Kindergarten Transition Program who otherwise, would not have access to a preschool experience before kindergarten. Thanks to strong community support, we're able to help countless children like Michael have a positive first impression of school and set the foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Lucia and her family’s journey began with MCHC back in 2012 during her first pregnancy as a Healthy Start participant. Monthly home-visits by our Community Health Worker, Anabel, provided Lucia with a support system that equipped her with knowledge for what to expect during pregnancy, practical ways to support her health and prepare the home, labor and delivery plans, and emotional support the whole way. Lucia delivered a healthy baby girl and graduated from the Healthy Start program when her daughter, Crystal turned two in 2014.
Several years later, Lucia noticed that her second child, David, was struggling with basic motor functions that other children his age seemed to do well with, like writing with a pencil or coloring. She knew that he needed extra help, but was not sure how to help him, and wanted to do something before he started kindergarten the following year. She knew that MCHC was a resource in her community and reached out to us. Our Family Center Program team was able to help David and Lucia through home-visiting services, which included screening David for developmental delays and providing the appropriate clinical referrals, help with health insurance enrollment to cover his treatment, and introduce activities for David to strengthen his motor skills like stacking blocks, completing puzzles, and other crafts with basic household items. Over time, David was able to achieve age-appropriate motor skills thanks to the combination of routine clinical wellness visits and home-visiting support from MCHC. Thanks to this, Lucia had the help that she needed outside of a doctor's office, and her children have the foundation for a healthy life.
One winter, MCHC got a call from a local school about a family that was in need of mental health care but would need help affording treatment. Marie, a mother to a teenage son, worked hard to make ends meet and was struggling with navigating the public benefits enrollment process to get car for her son. She found the government's online system challenging to navigate and had questions about the documentation and other requirements to secure benefits. All the white, she grew more and more worried about her son, who was struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The school referred the family to MCHC for help with the enrollment process and other resources that could offset the high cost of health care and groceries. MCHC's Family Benefits Specialist in West Chester listened to Marie and assured her that together, they would go through the necessary steps and she would connect her to resources that might help, like housing assistance and free after school programs. That first day, we filled out the application, explained the process and what documents to bring back to us that we need to provide in order to be approved. The following day, Marie returned and that application was submitted for review. That same week, after following up with the County Assistance Office about the status of the application and the need of the family, we were able to tell them that they were approved for Medicaid coverage.
Thanks to our quick action, this family could access the needed mental health treatment for their son and put an end to their wondering where they could turn for help. Filling out an application may seem like a small act, but the additional support and care that our Family Benefits team provided made all the difference for this family. Additionally, the expertise our team brings that ensures that applications are quickly approved and do not fall through the cracks in cases of immediate need. Marie later told us, "I couldn't have done it or kept my son safe without your help."