When I first began working with Youth Heartline in Raton, my first case was with a little girl, E. E was two years old and had some developmental concerns--she didn't speak much and cried a lot during any kind of transition. This was the part of child advocacy that is really hard for me--seeing a child so upset and struggling. However, it turns out there was a lot more to see.
Even though Raton is a (very) small town, there actually are a lot of great resources available for children and families. This is something I try to raise awareness about as another key part of advocating for families and kids--there's a lot of great stuff available, and a lot of people in town don't know all the community has to offer! Some great options for young children are Head Start and Early Head Start, which are educational preschools, The Children's Workshop, which provides intervention for developmental delays, and Kids Counseling for child/play therapy. As summer comes up, there are also day camp options in the park, free summer lunch for kids, and programs at the Aquatic Center!
Not E. This is someone excited for face-painting!
I'm happy to say that E seemed to really benefit from the effects of services for kids and a great foster home to provide her with stability and comfort during a difficult time for her and her family. She is now talkative, engaged, and curious about everyone and everything around her. If you want to be involved with helping support kids like E, you can volunteer as an advocate with Youth Heartline, consider fostering children in your home, or even just get more aware of programs and activities for families in your town. That way, you can be a resource to others and help provide information on what's really available locally. A network of caring and informed adults helps support all the kids in our community, and that can start with you.