Untreated behavioral health issues in children are associated with a variety of negative outcomes. That’s why Centro Savila received a UWCNM multi-year grant to focus on, Strengthening Families, a prevention and early intervention program to improve youth behavioral health.
When Yolanda and her four children attended their Strengthening Families program in January 2017, she was at her wit's end. She had just ended a 17-year relationship and suffered the loss of her mother. Yolanda’s relationship with her 16-year-old daughter was bad. She seemed defiant and sometimes refused to eat just to be contrary. She did her homework but wouldn’t turn it in, so her GPA fell to 1.9. Yolanda was also struggling to relate to her 12-year-old son, who had a quiet personality and difficulty expressing his feelings. She was worried about her 9 year-old twin sons, who were dealing with depression and ADHD and ODD. Yolanda was always stressed, easily exploded into anger and suffered from chronic headaches.
After the family graduated from the program, things started to turn around. Yolanda learned better communication skills, how to offer appropriate rewards to her kids, and how to give her daughter space. The family started to express their feelings openly. Her daughter is graduating this month with a 3.0 GPA and has taken two online classes which earned her 15 college credits. Now, the family walks their dogs together and enjoys cookouts. Yolanda and her children still have two family meetings per month. Yolanda knows there will be highs and lows but now there is more family support, which makes all the difference.