Healthy Families program helps local mom succeed

Amy knew that life as a soon-to-be single mother would be challenging. Her decisions would now affect not just herself, but also her baby. And maneuvering personal challenges while experiencing a lack of support during her pregnancy left Amy exhausted. But the months of Amy’s pregnancy flew by, and before long she was cradling a sweet baby girl in her arms.

After giving birth to her daughter Ella, Amy didn’t know what their future would hold beyond the walls of her hospital room. The only thing she was certain of is that she wanted to be the best parent that she could be, and that her love for Ella knew no bounds.

Hospital staff introduced Amy to Southwest Human Development’s Healthy Families, confident that the program could help her begin the journey into parenthood. When Amy met her family support specialist, an incredible bond was formed.

As a new mom, Amy worried about whether her daughter was developing as she should, and if she was helping set Ella on a path to success. “She would assure me that Ella was hitting her milestones, talk to me about parenting techniques and give me confidence that I was doing things correctly.”

“At a time in my life when I didn’t have much support, my family support specialist made a huge impact on me as a parent,” said Amy.

“She always told me that it doesn’t matter where you’re at, it only matters where you’re going to be.” Amy recalls. “She said ‘you can do this.’”

These words were more than kind advice to Amy. They were life changing.

After gaining newfound confidence from working with the program Amy decided to focus her energy on building a positive future for herself and Ella by enrolling in nursing school. While also working full-time, Amy eventually earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Upon graduation, degree in hand, Amy and Ella set forth to begin a new adventure. They moved to Virginia, where Amy balanced the roles of motherhood and realizing her dream of becoming a nurse.

After working as both a pediatric and radiation oncology nurse, and later building out new programs at several hospitals, word of Amy’s tremendous talent made it back to Arizona. The Arizona Mayo Clinic recruited her for a pediatric radiation oncology coordinator position, and excited by the idea of returning home to Arizona, Amy accepted the position. Still inspired by her family support specialist’s words years ago, she took her career one step further and also applied to ASU’s doctor of nursing program. Amy became one of eight students accepted into the prestigious program, and her goal is to open her own practice one day.

And Ella? The now 12-year-old is doing great. Amy’s ambitious approach to life was definitely inherited by her daughter. Ella dedicates her time to being a well-rounded scholar and athlete and stays busy with a number of activities like art, volleyball and Crossfit.

“Ella is so smart, loving and kind.” Said Amy. “She has a heart of gold, she loves to help people and she always has a smile on her face.”

When Amy reflects on her life with Ella, she remembers the beginning of her journey into motherhood many years ago, and is grateful for the support she received during a time when she felt vulnerable in life. Because services from Southwest Human Development’s Healthy Families program made such an incredible impact in Amy and Ella’s life, Amy felt compelled to track down her family support specialist to give a heartfelt “thank you,” and share how the loving guidance she received over a decade ago set her on a path to help others.

“During a time when I needed support, my family support specialist was a big motivating factor,” said Amy. “You never know when what you say or do will impact someone’s life forever.”

Amy hopes that others will continue to work with Healthy Families to be the best parents that they can be while achieving their hopes and dreams.

Children need strong parents and caregivers in their lives. Programs like Healthy Families nurture the parent-child relationship to promote child health and development. A child’s first relationship and earliest experiences lay the foundation for success in school and life, which is the core of the Healthy Families approach.

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