A client was referred to us from the local 2-1-1 call center. The client was struggling to make ends meet. She is a single mother with three children. One son was disabled and had emotional problems which took up much of her time. The son’s disability check was her only source of income. She was unable to find work because of a lack of transportation.
TRI-CAP sold her an old but dependable surplus agency vehicle and allowed her to make monthly $100 payments. She has made her payments on time every month and personally delivered the payments to our office. Because she had access to this vehicle she was able to find work within a week. Her children also needed coats and clothing for school. We knew of a church that was having a yard sale and they agreed to let the mother come and pick out any clothes that she would need for herself or the children.
Her son is still having emotional issues but he is receiving counseling through a local agency and she now has a caseworker helping her when she needs help with her son. The mother has her own home that she is purchasing through Habitat for Humanity. We also assisted her in obtaining child care vouchers for her other children so she would be able to work. We check on her monthly and she always tells us that she is doing fine and needs no additional help. I have made other offers and referrals but she seems to want to help herself.
A United States Veteran was a referred from Indiana Legal Services after many months of unsuccessful attempts to obtain a modification on his mortgage. Our TRI-CAP Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Counselor worked with the client for 19 months on this most difficult situation. We contacted the Veterans’ Administration for this case and were told we were doing everything possible. The homeowner and TRI-CAP worked together on a scheduled basis with each party contacting the large bank twice per week, resupplying them with updated income, financial worksheets, and all other requested information until we finally received an approval for a loan modification. His monthly payment went from $747.35 to $547.78. His interest Annual Percentage Rate on the mortgage was reduced from 6.25% to 3.5%.
A local county Department of Corrections had identified financial education as a barrier to inmates awaiting re-entry into the general population. TRI-CAP worked with the local county officials and we developed a financial literacy class to educate the clients on budgeting, home energy management, and how to raise their credit scores. The program was made available to 12 men awaiting release. TRI-CAP conducted sessions at the jail in the evenings after the men returned from their work release duties. The program was well received.
Our Healthcare Navigator recently had a client who had about given up on obtaining health insurance. He had been to several other agencies but didn’t think anyone could help him. At his first meeting with our Healthcare Navigator, he was hostile, feeling everyone was just out to scam him. But our Navigator assured him that if he worked with her, she’d find a policy that met his needs and his budget. They met several times and found the right policy. He told her after he was fully enrolled how much he appreciated her and that if it weren’t for TRI-CAP, he would have quit trying to find health insurance.
A 14-year-old young lady visited the clinic for an initial exam accompanied by her mother. The mother and daughter had a close relationship and the daughter felt comfortable talking to her mother about sex. The mother stated that her daughter was already on pills but had run out because she did not have the $10 to purchase the generic pills. She was excited to learn that she could bring her daughter to TRI-CAP to get an examination, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and eventually obtain a year’s supply of pills at no cost based on their income.
This is a success story that resembles many of our clients. However, what was more important was the great learning opportunity for both mother and daughter. In formulating a reproductive health plan and the teen assessment, it was clear that this young lady had goals and wanted to be at least 25 years old before becoming pregnant. We counseled this young lady about the importance of abstinence being the only 100% way to prevent pregnancy and STIs. In the event she still chose to be sexually active, she was counseled on the acronym “ABC”: abstinence, be faithful, condoms. We role played to equip her with necessary skills to identify and to handle sexual coercion. She and mom both learned how you can contact herpes and HPV even if condoms are used 100% of the time. Mom left the clinic very happy that someone had spent time counseling her daughter as we had done. It was evident that this was a learning moment for both of them.
I couldn’t afford to see a gynecologist annually, along with paying for birth control. Being a full-time college student and working several part-time jobs meant that I didn’t have certain health coverage. I’ve been using TRI-CAP’s family planning services for a little over 10 years in order to prevent unseen obstacles that could shatter my dreams, goals, or future plans. In 2012, my annual appointment arrived around my birthday, like it always did. The Nurse Practioner’s mood wasn’t different from any other previous visit…cheerful and comforting. About 30 minutes later, I heard the usual, “We’ll notify you in three weeks if anything is wrong, but remember: no news is good news.” I went on with my daily routine after giving a small donation for their services.
A little over a week passed by and I received this plain envelope in the mail that said something along of the lines of … “Call TRI-CAP immediately upon opening.” My first thought was, “Oh my! I need to call them right away! What could this possibly be about?!” Then I calmed myself down and thought, “It can’t be TOO important because if it were, then someone would’ve called, right?”
The next day, I called TRI-CAP, told them what I had received, and was assured that everything would be OK. My pap smear came back abnormal so I was directed to choose from a list of gynecologists (TRI-CAP provided the names and numbers of each) to schedule a follow up appointment with one of them. TRI-CAP sent the sample to the gynecologist I selected, who also performed another test, and I was told that I had LSIL. LSIL stands for low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion and was a form of HPV, the human papillomavirus. I had heard commercials about HPV and the vaccine but never got it because of the high cost. Regret ran through my mind because of the worst case scenario, a hysterectomy. At the time, I was 23 years old. Children weren’t a thought at that point in my life but that didn’t mean I didn’t want any at all. Even worse yet, the gynecologist’s sample came back: LSIL had developed into precancerous cells inside my cervix.
My heart stopped as I sat and cried in my office at work. My mind began to race and fill with all these questions: “How did this happen? How am I going to pay for this? Will I ever be able to have children?” etc. The list went on and on as my pain began to progress into anger. I tried to find anyone and everyone to blame it on but myself.
Two months later, my surgery was scheduled. It was called a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure), and it took about 30 minutes to complete. I woke up from surgery and my mom said, “It took a little longer than it was supposed to but don’t worry. Doc said they got it all.”
The weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I now daydream about a future husband and children. The doctor advised that for three years after, I would routinely go see the gynecologist every six months; however, I was able to use TRI-CAP’s services to receive discounted birth control. I just had my second after-surgery visit and everything is going well! I thank TRI-CAP every day for their services, volunteers, and programs. Without an exceptional facility and staff, I wouldn’t be in the great health that I am today. Thank you TRI-CAP!!!!
We had a client contact us the day before her sheriff sale. We met with the client and signed the loan application. She brought in all the necessary documents that we needed. We began making calls to the Lender and the client was also making calls. We told the Lender we were working with her on the HHF Program and it looked like she would meet all the qualifications to be approved for the program. The Lender agreed to stop the sheriff’s sale for 30 days. We submitted her application to IHCDA. Kim did the underwriting on the file, and then submitted the file to the Lender. WE closed a few weeks later, and the client was able to keep her home. She was s single mom with a son who is a sophomore in college and a daughter who is a freshman in college. The program was able to apply a reinstatement amount of $5,634.82 and helped with her monthly payment of $52.57. Her payment was 310.00 per month. The client was very thankful for the program, which saved her home.
A young family of three recently submitted this letter of thanks for the foreclosure assistance received from TRI-CAP after the head of household lost his longtime employment in a sales career:
…We can’t thank you enough for all of your help with the Hardest Hit Fund. This Program has been such a blessing to us and without it we could have lost our home. My husband has now completed his second week of class and is on track…
The family received $10,073.60 in financial assistance through the HHF program to help catch up their loan obligations. They will also receive $777.62 per month to apply to their mortgage until they reach their maximum allowable benefit of $18,000. Part of the requirement for the HHF grant is that the recipient either receives job training or performs volunteer work 40 hours per month. This recipient did both! The head of household volunteered in helping with the southern Indiana tornado damages from 2012. He also applied for truck driver training and received financial assistance through Work One to obtain this training. The family now has hope of keeping their home.
One of our Hardest Hit Fund client’s testimonials of how the Hardest Hit Funds and our team member Justin helped her and her family; the following are her answers to our survey questions regarding the Hardest Hit Funds program.
1. What did you like about our program?
First I love the one on one treatment, always the same counselor, Justin is the best!!! I have been trying to get a mortgage modification since 2009 with no results. Once I started working with Justin, he explained everything to me plus he became my advocate and finally they really paid attention. The mortgage company told me that the only way to stop the foreclosure was filing bankruptcy. Justin explained to me why that was not the way to approach the problem. He helped me understand what I was up against and what my options where.
2. What could we do to improve our program in the future?
I really cannot help with this question since I really think and feel that Justin is the Best. He is my HERO!! He helped me SAVE my Home. I am so pleased with this program that I give everyone I know that is struggling your information.
3. Please provide a brief testimonial about your experience with Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Program and with the housing counselor that worked with you.
Excellent is an UNDERSTATEMENT!! Justin explained everything in a way I understood 100%; we kept going back and forward with email and phone calls. He always kept in touch with me. Without Justin and HHF,I would have never SAVED MY HOME!! Justin and the HHF Program prepared me to continue fighting for my home. It took my bank a year to respond and finally approve my modification, but Justin was with me every step of the way. Even my bad Spanglish did not seem to bother him. Justin is my HERO!!
WOW…words CAN”T EXPLAIN how THANKFUL I am for TRI-CAP….especially my hero, Justin. So caring and patient even with my bad Spanglish, because they help me understand the process. He became my advocate and helped me avoid foreclosure, lower my monthly payment and save my home. I will be FOREVER GRATEFUL!!!!!!
This company saved me from losing everything I had worked hard for when I lost my job of 11 years. Justin is awesome.
I had a health related set back that snowballed into a predicament that was going to cause me to lose my home of 30 years. This is a home I aspired to have about 50 years ago, and I have some prominence in the community for being in this historic 126 year old home. My career is based on historic preservation, renovation, and time investment into sustaining viable urban neighborhoods. Without the HHF assistance my life’s efforts would have been destroyed.
I can testify that many others feel this program serves a fundamentally powerful purpose that should remain available to those that are hit the hardest.
I can compare this program as one of my life’s most transformative in the best degree of full appreciation. I hope others benefit just as perfectly as this program is designed.
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Once of my student’s aunts who is the legal guardian of her 2 nephews took one of the IDA applications that was passed out at a parent meeting and called Tammy Dewitt about applying for this program. He main goal is to be able to buy her own home which would give her nephews a room of their own and further stability in their lives.
Tammy informed me today that she was accepted into the IDA Program and she has sent in her initial deposit to start her IDA account. She opted to use the Fast Track Program which means she can complete this whole process in 2 years instead of 4. She would just have to deposit $500 this fiscal year and then $500 next year. Once those amounts are met, the state will match 4 – 1 and she would have $5,000.00 by the end of her second year in the program. She will be able to use funds for either a down payment to purchase a home or to make improvements to a home if she is able to purchase before the end of her two years in IDA.
She is so excited and so thankful to us for letting her know about this opportunity. It definitely will enrich their lives and makes home ownership a reality for this family. This is such a major accomplishment for them and they are on the road to meeting their major goal that was set up through family partnership.
I had a family come in to set goals – they wanted to improve night time routine with their set of twins. They had been struggling to get them up in the mornings and drop-off at school was always a battle. Dad and mom were able to talk about what they were doing “wrong”. They brought up TV in their rooms and how at night time they let them watch TV until they fell asleep. They were also letting them take extra-long naps during the day. They talked about what they would improve in the following weeks. I checked in with the family a couple of days ago and mom said that it was going GREAT! Mom said that she did not let them take naps during the day and that the TV was no longer in their room. She said that the children were in bed by 7 pm in the evenings. She said that on Wednesdays, when they go to church, she lets the children take a two hour nap because they are up later that night. Mom and dad also set another goal of looking for a new home. Mom and dad were able to contact Tammy with TRI-CAP and get resources; they were going to submit an application to USDA to get assistance with home buying.
I have a family that applied to get their daughter into the Head Start Program. During that time they had recently arrived to the United States; they had filed asylum and were waiting on their documents to arrive to be able to work. Their documents arrived in November. Mom shared that her husband was looking for a job; he applied at Toyota and got hired. Mom shared that she was also looking for a job; she had an interview this week and she said she starts orientation next week She is very excited that they both have jobs and they are also expecting a little one this June.
It was discussed in a Head Start classroom about coming up with a fund raiser to help the children in Haiti ….This Head Start class could not come up with an event to raise money but instead talked about the importance of sharing with others when they are in need. As a result of this discussion one of the little girls in the class went through all her toys before Christmas and had her mom donate these toys to their church to be shared with other little boys and girls that are less fortunate. So the message was well received and as a result of this, another little girl going through a rough time was given this small act of kindness to show her that someone cares and wanted to brighten her life with this selfless act of love and compassion.
A Head Start teacher in the Jasper full day classroom noticed that a few children were not wearing winter coats as the weather grew colder. Since they spend some time outside every day that it isn’t raining, she asked the parents to please send the children in their winter coats so they would be warm on the playground. One mother told the teacher that last year’s coat was too small for her child, and that she could not afford a new winter coat for her little girl. The teacher immediately sent an email asking for resources to help this mother get a coat for her child.
She writes, “Little did I know at the time that my email would be forwarded to several people in the different TRI-CAP offices. Within a few days, not only did the child in my class get a new coat, but several children from the other classes also received new coats.”
Thanks to this teacher’s quick action to help one family’s need and the collective reaction of the TRI-CAP community, several families’ needs were met through an overwhelming response of caring and generosity.
Through Head Start and their partnership with the Warrick County School Corporation, children are able to receive early intervention services that aid them in becoming kindergarten ready. For two years we had a child with a severe speech delay enrolled in our Head Start program. His speech delay was causing him to fall behind in other areas. After completing a speech evaluation he became enrolled in Head Start and the Warrick County School Cooperative Preschool as well. Through the first year he was very quiet and would play alongside other children. He lacked confidence in himself and would rarely participate in activities. With each activity he was offered love, support, and encouragement, even if he seemed uninterested. By the second year he had become “Mr. Popularity”. He had grown to be confident in himself and joined in with group activities. He learned how to play with others and how to use his words to interact with friends. Each day he gained more and more knowledge and was getting excited for Kindergarten. When he completed his Lollipop test for Kindergarten his mom came in and shared the exciting news. He had completed the test with the teacher and had only missed two questions. He also could recognize every letter and numbers up to twenty. His speech had also greatly improved and he spoke in complete sentences. After two great years we were sad to see him go, but thrilled to know that he was ready to conquer whatever came his way.
When my daughter entered Head Start, she was a very dependent little 3 year old. It was rough because she clung to me every morning and cried because she didn’t want to go to school. Her unhappiness made me question if I was doing the right thing. I was already struggling with the guilt of being a working mom and it felt like she would never adjust. The teachers were always patient and understanding and never seemed to be bothered by her difficulty. After discussion at home visits and evaluation it was discovered that my daughter had an auditory learning disability. Head Start provided speech therapy. Gradually, things began to change. By the end of the year, she had stopped clinging to me in the mornings and had begun to look forward to her day. I noticed a great improvement in her language and comprehension skills as well.
When my daughter returned to Head Start after summer break she was excited and had missed her teachers and her friends. She was content and independent at school and at home. She was more sociable and was making better choices. By the end of the fall semester we discovered that she could read really well. My daughter has also been released from speech with no continuing concerns. Watching her thrive and become successful has done so much to alleviate my worries and the guilt that I had felt when she first began.
As my daughter concludes her time in Head Start and heads to Kindergarten next year I can only say that I am grateful. I don’t want to think about where my daughter would be if she had not attended Head Start. I only want to stand in amazement about what she is doing now because of the opportunity to be in the Head Start program. There is a quote by Forest Whitcraft that goes like this, “A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.”
You’ve made a huge difference for my child. Thank you!
At our first parent-teacher conference last fall, we were discussing a Head Start student’s progress with a new parent. The young mother looked so proud as we shared, “He has just blossomed this year! He is reading and writing letters all the time. He is so enthusiastic that he has become a real leader in our class. We are just amazed at how he is soaking up everything and asking for more!”
She nodded and smiled in agreement. She said that he reads signs all the time. “S-T-O-P spells stop, Mom! Number 2-3-1;” he reads everywhere we go! She said, “We went to a store recently and outside the store, we had to stop while he read all the letters in the sign.” She paused and smiled, then continued to say that she is so pleased with how far he has come in his time at Head Start. She said, “You know, two years ago he could barely talk and now he talks all the time, and reads, and spells. It’s just great!”
“He is a great boy! We are just amazed. We had no idea he would just take off like this and lead the whole class,” Mother and teacher agreed. Then, Mom continued to tell how seeing her son’s progress has helped her understand more about development. She said that she has noticed in her younger son some of the same speech patterns that they had seen in her older son. “You know, when it’s your child, you can understand him and you just don’t realize that there’s something wrong. We are getting help for the younger child now, because this time I know that there might be problems and that we can help.”
This is Head Start at its best. We helped a child, taught a parent, and touched a family.
We met with a Head Start parent to set her family goals. While discussing different life areas she brought it to our attention that neither she nor dad had their high school diploma or GED. We referred her to Warrick Education Center to see what steps she would need to take to get their GEDs. Mom called back that afternoon to let us know she was scheduled to take her TABE test. Two weeks later Mom came to the TRI-CAP office for a Family Development meeting and let me know that she had gotten the results and that both she and dad would need some additional classes before taking their GED but that they had both enrolled and would be starting soon. We congratulated her on taking the first step toward a higher education. Mom let us know she would like to get a CNA certification and we referred her to Warrick Education Center again since they offer such training. We also suggested applying for work at places that would help her with her training. Mom then enrolled in the IMPACT program and began her job search. Within one week of this she let us know she had a nursing job! Mom is enjoying her work and attending her classes. She is very excited about her success and looks forward to having income for her family and getting a higher education to show her children the path to success.
We have a family with 3 children that were involved in a CPS case. Mom was found to have been using drugs and custody of children was given to her parents. Mom went through treatment and was allowed to move into her parents’ home with the children but was not awarded custody. At the time of our meeting she had four goals in mind: get her GED, find her own home, close her CPS case, and be clean for one year. The family recently went to court and custody of all three children was awarded back to mom. Mom stopped by our TRI-CAP office to let us know that she would bring paperwork by as soon as the judge had signed everything. We congratulated her and told her to keep working toward her other goals. She let us know that as of that day she was clean for one year. Mom is now working on finding employment and has her eye out for an apartment, which she plans on moving into when she receives her tax refund.
Head Start success story as told by Arlene Wuchner – 30 years of teaching with TRI-CAP Head Start
Very early in my Head Start career, I had a young boy who was hearing impaired. He did well in Head Start as I recall. Just this year, when inviting community business people to come to Head Start to help us learn about letters and communities, I invited this young man, my former student, to bring his Ice truck to our classroom and show the children what he does. He did. He actually owns his own small business that he taught us about! It was fun and rewarding to have a former student give back to Head Start by volunteering and taking time out of his busy schedule to teach our current young students about life. He actually donated some ice for the water table and so his visit turned into a science lesson also.
After two years of speech therapy, our Head Start student “graduated”. He was retested this winter and his speech has greatly improved. He has tested out of therapy. We celebrated in our classroom with a “speech graduation party” for him. He was so proud and the other children kept congratulating him! He is well on his way to enter Kindergarten on par with his peers.
Sometimes Head Start successes are defined outside of the classroom or aside from the child. TRI-CAP’s Head Start teachers work with the entire family. Upon her first contact with a new Head Start family, our teacher was told about the worries they were having with money issues and job security. They described their work and college experiences, explaining that they had a degree and would like to pursue a job in that field. Our teacher informed them of a job opening and encouraged them to apply. They turned in a resume, had an interview, and received the position. The family reports feeling much more financially stable, which is helping with their and their child’s emotional stability.
As the TRI-CAP Head Start bus pulled into the apartment complex each day, the driver noticed that the entrance did not have any safety lighting. This left children of all ages waiting in the dark at the entrance of the complex, while vehicles and buses pulled in and out of the parking lot. The driver notified the apartment management company of the safety issues not only at the entrance area, but on the nearby street corner where middle/high school students walk to school. The management took action and posted lighting at their entrance area and the street corner as well. Our bus driver went a step beyond her job in consideration for the community that we serve, and she successfully made a difference!
Our family is so thankful for the services you have provided to us over the last three years.
We had the opportunity to have both our son and daughter enrolled in Head Start. My husband works full time while I am a college student pursuing a degree in Nursing.
Without the help of the TRI-CAP family I would not be able to attend college. This program has meant so much to our family. In return I have volunteered my time in the classroom and with special events in order to show the gratitude our family has for TRI-CAP.
This program, beyond measure, has benefited our children academically. Our son was first enrolled in Head Start at the age of four and was able to get the educational tools he needed before entering kindergarten.
Our daughter had the blessing of entering Head Start when she was three years old. She has spent two years in Head Start. Within these two years the teachers have prepared her for advancement into kindergarten. The teachers pushed her academically and introduced her to word families. After our daughter learned word families, the teacher sent her home with sight words to work on. Our daughter has been able to read 60 books this year alone. She is such a bright young lady.
Our family wants to share with TRI-CAP that they have helped make a difference in our lives. We have been given opportunities that we would not otherwise have had without their help. Thank you for caring for our children, helping them build friendships and confidence, and giving them a positive atmosphere to thrive in when they are away from home. We truly feel indebted to TRI-CAP and cannot express enough gratitude for nurturing our children, encouraging them, kissing their boo boos, giving them hugs every day, introducing them to different techniques on how to paint, and praising them for all of their hard work.
I had a single mom of three children. After two years of working on the same goal, she was finally able to move to her own place and not have to live with friends. She finally found an apartment, obtained her license, and purchased a newer car. She currently has a new goal of paying off her car. Her smile when telling me all this was priceless.
The family goal was to purchase a home by February 2016. Mom called recently and said their offer had gone through and that they are looking into moving in one month. She mentioned previously that she was upset because they had made some offers on other homes and they had not gone through. The family was able to stick with the process and not give up until finding “the one”.
At enrollment a mom came in and through conversation she told me that she was home schooled and had never finished school. She had always wanted to go to an actual school and had never been given the opportunity. She is a very young mom with children and needed some motivation and encouragement – (“It’s never too late.”)
Today she came in and was so excited to the point of tears. She said she had signed up for GED classes and they have offered her a job to get some hands-on in the environment that she chooses to go to. She said that it worked out perfectly because she can go as many days as she likes. She could even go all five days of the week while her children are at Head Start. She said she would do that and then in the evenings she would go to her job. She also said that her husband is supportive of her as well. She said she wanted to thank me for motivating her.
One of my foster parents came in to let me know that she has been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and that she had to go to the doctor that day to discuss treatment. I did talk to the lead teacher and she had already asked this parent if she needed any help with anything and referred her to Susan B. Komen and gave her the phone number. She is going to contact them.
There is a mom that has to walk a good distance from her home to bring her son to school and then walk back to pick him up. She just recently started working at McDonald’s and was having to walk him to school, walk to work, and then walk back to get him and then walk home. Two different parents stepped up and offered her a ride. Not only does she now have a ride to take her son to school and pick him up but she also now has a ride to and from work. She also has a backup, when one cannot do it, the other can.
At enrollment a single mom of four children under the age of four shared that she was having a rough time because she didn’t have child care for her children. She was not sure what she was going to do after maternity leave because she couldn’t secure child care. Referral to CCDF was made. Mom applied, and we faxed paperwork a couple of weeks ago. Mom called me so excited yesterday because all of her four children were approved for vouchers. Her twins at Head Start were enrolled in Extended Care and her other two children were able to get in at a daycare. Mom now has more time to work!
Heat Start has been great for my family of six kids now. I know they are in a safe, loving, educational environment that helps my children grow and thrive. They provide nutritious meals and fun activities. If it hadn’t been for Head Start I could not have worked. Thanks to the staff and program for helping our family of 10!
TRI-CAP has helped my family a lot in many different ways. The Head Start Program has helped my twin boys very much. Before the twins started Head Start, they had been in the First Steps Program for their speech. When the twins started Head Start, they couldn’t spell their names, they didn’t know any letters of their name, any letters of the alphabet, or any numbers. They only knew a few shapes and a few colors. They can now spell their first and last names! They know the alphabet, colors, numbers, and shapes! Head Start has really gone over and beyond to help them get ready for kindergarten. And since they have started Head Start, they have become social butterflies! I have also been able to start college classes for myself as well.
My son began attending the Head Start program in the fall of 2014. He had never been to a classroom setting and did not have the average social skills that most children his age had. My son almost feared most adults outside of the adults in his family. Yet the teachers and other amazing people within the program opened my child up to a new world of learning and friendship. love, and trust. His teacher became like a surrogate grandmother to my son, being very attentive to his special needs due to his heart and lung condition, and showed him love and kindness beyond our expectations. The other teachers and staff literally became my son’s “Best Friends” and always showed the utmost care and devotion to his education and growth.
The Head Start program was one of the best decisions my husband and I could have made when it came to my child’s development growth and improvement. It allowed him to become more of the amazing brilliant and talented boy that my son is today. But, the program also addressed the needs within my family as well. If there were times that my family was dealing with strife, TRI-CAP gave information and assistance that helped keep my family afloat when we dealt with hardships that were unforeseen in our path. The staff was always willing to listen and answer any questions they could. and if there was a question they could not answer, they found options that we would not thought of on our own.
My husband and I are grateful for the programs within TRI-CAP and are evidence to the statement that TRI-CAP does help families in need. We could never regret, or forget, the wonderful experiences and friendships that we have been blessed with by being a part of the opportunities that TRI-CAP provides for the community. TRI-CAP and the Head Start program are a wonderful assets to the community and the families that they serve.
Healthy Families: Healthy Families is a home based program serving families with children ages zero to three years old. Through the one-on-one support and referrals made by TRI-CAP Healthy Families home visiting staff, the following clients’ lives have been positively impacted as follows:
This particular family has been with the Healthy Families Program for a little over 2 years. Recently, Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was very aggressive and required nearly constant treatment. In part with help from Healthy Families, Mom was able to stay positive through this process as her Home Visitor was able to connect her with a number of emergency assistance resources to help the family through a very difficult time. Mom was able to open up regarding her family’s needs and she, herself, was diligent about finding resources to help her family through the entire ordeal. Recently, Dad has been declared cancer free and the family is working hard to get their lives “back on track,” to quote Mom. This family has shown great strength and perseverance through this; Mom has learned many ways to help her family continue on the road to self-sufficiency.
As part of their participation with the Healthy Families program, Mom and Dad have a current Family Goal Plan to continue advocating for baby’s health. Baby has been sick on-and-off since birth. Baby has had a myriad of lab work done, and has been to the ER many times for weight loss, dehydration, RSV, Rotavirus, pneumonia, catheters, and feeding tubes, etc. Mom an Dad have taken Baby to the pediatrician countless times, but have felt that their concerns have not been taken seriously. Meanwhile, they continue to see their Baby suffer and decline; as also witnessed by the family’s Home Visitor. The family’s Healthy Families Home Visitor has encouraged Mom and Dad, many times, to get another doctor’s opinion. After a year of caring for Baby through numerous illnesses, and with the help, encouragement and resources introduced by their Healthy Families Home Visitor, Mom and Dad have finally secured a referral to Riley Hospital for Children. Based on the family’s advocating and diligent tracking of Baby’s symptoms and repeat illnesses, Bay is to be seen by a team of doctors at Riley Hospital. Thanks, in part, to the Healthy Families program, these parents now feel empowered to actively advocate for their Baby’s on-going medical issues.
Mom is a stay-at-home mom and has been for a while. Dad works full time. Mom and dad currently live in a small trailer and one of the families Family Goal Plan (FGP) is to save enough money for a down payment on their own home. Mom has been doing many things to contribute to this. She has put the credit cards in a jar on top of the fridge, and it can only be taken out for emergencies. She makes weekly meal plans prior to grocery shopping. She breastfeeds the youngest child so there is no formula cost. and mom and dad each put a minimum of $20 each week in savings. Mom has also interviewed and accepted a part-time guest services position with Holiday World. Way to go guys!
One of the families I serve in the program has been enrolled with us since September of 2015, just before her daughter was born. Mom has six biological children and has helped raise several children via foster care. Mom has two associate degrees and has been working in a bank for the last 10 years or more. Recently, this Mom has been taking on more responsibilities at her job and has been talking with me about the extra stresses it is causing her and her family. I have brought her information on how to cope with stress. I have also talked with her about her options at work, such as talking over things with her boss or looking into other options for employment. At our most recent visit, Mom informed me that she was given an official promotion and a raise, and that she will be making enough money to take some of the burden off of the family. I asked Mom about her promotion and raise. She told me that she met with her supervisor to share her concerns. The company appreciated and respected Mom’s courage, valued her work ethic, and took positive steps to retain her as an employee. With my encouragement, this Mom felt empowered to reach higher. I congratulated Mom on her success and she said, “It is nice to not have to worry as much.”
With my encouragement, the mother of a family that I serve is in the process of filing for disability for her youngest child. He was born with physical disabilities and Mom has struggled to manage those special needs. In addition, she has two other children with different special needs. She has used numerous referrals provided by our program to help her family navigate school and therapy issues. She has recently registered her youngest for preschool and has praised our program for her successes.
Having recently moved to this area, a young mother of two was unsure of area resources and was struggling to find medical services for herself. With help and referrals from Healthy Families home visitor, this mom was able to make an appointment with a Family Planning and engage a referral for First Steps for one of her children, both within two weeks of joining the Healthy Families Program. This mom is also following through with referrals for much needed dental services for herself.
This mom recently left an abusive relationship. She has sought shelter with relatives in Southern Indiana, but finds herself struggling to survive with her young baby. This mom’s Healthy Families worker was able to connect her with a number of area agencies that specialize in helping a mother get through this critical time. Mom and her baby are now safe with family and Mom is seeking counseling services to improve life for herself and her baby.
My success story for the month of June is for family #1338! The mom was on a level ten for nearly two months, meaning she was not able to keep any scheduled visits. I continued to keep in touch with her via text messages and phone calls to try to reengage her and schedule future home visits with her. Mom had medical complications throughout her entire pregnancy. She was hospitalized numerous times and was told she could no longer continue taking classes at her high school due to her medical complications. This difficult situation made it difficult for her to schedule and keep visits with me during her pregnancy. I also would send her letters and include the pregnancy curriculum.
At our second home visit after being on a level X for two months, mom discussed with me how she was nervous about breastfeeding and wasn’t sure if she wanted to do it. She also expressed a lot of other concerns/fears about labor and delivery. She didn’t have the most positive pregnancy experience, and because of this, she was very concerned about what her labor and delivery experience would be like. I would even go so far as to say she wasn’t really looking forward to it. I discussed with her about what her fears were and discussed the proper curriculum with her at the visit. I also gave her a referral for a childbirth class at the hospital where she was planning to give birth.
At our third visit, after giving birth to her baby, the mom told me how pleased she was with her labor and delivery experience and that she decided to breastfeed! As she was 16 and very impressionable, I was excited to hear that she was willing to try breastfeeding and found success in it! The success that I found in mom was not only that she wanted to stay in the program, but that she was willing to really think about the breastfeeding curriculum I brought and discussed with her. Because she was16 and worried about her peers and what they may have to say, the success in my eyes is that mom decided to breastfeed anyway, and that she chose a feeding option that she felt was best for her newborn!
I’m very proud of her for making a wise decision at 16! She’s been a GREAT mom so far, and I continue to look forward to my visits with her!
A mother noticed that her toddler was not interested in playing with toys and would not hold on to objects. The mother wanted to address this with her child’s doctor. Our TRI-CAP Healthy Families case manager brought her the copy of her child’s ASQ-3 assessment to discuss with her doctor. The mother later stated that she is playing more often with her child and with some new developmentally stimulating toys. When our case worker went to a later home visit, the mom was observed playing with her child with these toys; he was able to hold on to the objects and was smiling while he was playing!
This mother had a child while she was a senior in high school. She is now a college sophomore studying accounting. Over her summer break, she got a job working in accounts payable for a local company. She said that after the summer was over, the company offered her a part-time job to continue working in the accounting department while she continued to go to school. She said that the company was willing to work with her school schedule and let her work the hours she is available.
The entire time our TRI-CAP Healthy Families Support Specialist had been seeing this family, the mother had been trying to locate the dad. She said that she has not had any contact with him since she told him that she was pregnant. Our staff helped her file for child support hoping that the child support office would be able to locate the father. He was found and she is now finalizing her child support order.
Mom and Dad are together. This family had just graduated last month. Mom’s success is that with Dad and her family support she finished a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and had started her own business. When Mom and Dad started in the program (about three years ago), they were very nervous and afraid of not knowing how to raise a baby, help a child to develop on target, etc. They learned parenting skills and now have good parent-child interaction. Target Child is developing on target on all his areas and has a stable home and environment.
The family unit consists of Father, Mother, two siblings, and 19 month old Target Child. While we worked on developmental goals for the child, this family set a goal to improve their feeling of social isolation. When the mother started meeting with our TRI-CAP Healthy Families staff, she was unemployed and was stressed about finances. Eventually she started working at a factory. Then in a period of a year, the father increased his earnings from his work and mother stopped working because the father had to travel out of town and she started taking care of the extracurricular activities of her children during the summer. During the process of determining for personal goals facilitated by our TRI-CAP staff, the mother decided to obtain further education for herself and to get a better job. TRI-CAP referred her to the program of Work One and the local community college. We encouraged her as she took the steps she needed to seek a higher education. She is attending college to be an Accountant. Mother receives moral support from her husband as well as TRI-CAP. The family unit continues to increase their capacity to financially care for their children.
TRI-CAP Healthy Families staff completed an assessment on a 3-month old Target Child who scored low on gross motor skills due to not being able to lift his head up off the floor or being able to look side to side on his tummy. We suggested the caregiver (Great Grandma) put Target Child on the floor on his tummy for more tummy time. We explained that he will probably not enjoy it and cry but to try putting him on his tummy for a few minutes a few times a day. We also suggested distracting him by putting toys around him and talking to him while he is on his tummy. This may keep him calm longer so he can work on his neck muscles. The next visit, he was not only lifting his head completely off of the floor but he was rolling from belly to back! Great Grandma stated she had been putting him on his tummy more often. Great Grandma stated he did not like tummy time at all at first but has started to enjoy it for longer amounts of time.
Mom and Dad were both unemployed and living with his parents. Dad got a full time job recently. Mom and Dad are saving to get their own place. Dad is having a hard time being away from his wife and child while working but knows it is the best thing for his family right now. Mom is also encouraged and motivated to find a job and has attended several employment interviews. Her goal is to get a job and put all the money she earns to go toward saving to get their own place.
Mom’s stepson recently went back to live with his mother. Since her stepson was not present full time, Dad had moved back in with her and her children. Mom was relieved and thankful to have her family back together. With dad being back at home, Mom and Dad’s finances are starting to become less stressful since Dad is no longer paying living expenses to live with his parents. Mom stated things are finally starting to fall back into place after a year and a half. Mom stated that her stepson does visit every weekend and is closely supervised during his stay. During these weekend visits Dad sleeps downstairs with his son and Mom sleeps upstairs with the other children. Mom and Dad are being very proactive to protect all the children and making their home a safe place.
Mom left a domestic violence relationship. Mom has been staying with her parents. She said that it has been difficult not to go back into the abusive relationship due to the child’s father promising her that he has changed. She said when she first left him, she was angry but realized that he would never really change. Today, Mom has a second chance in changing her and her child’s life. Mom recently passed her GED classes and said that the sky is the limit now and she is so thankful for the help that she has received from TRI-CAP Healthy Families. Mom also found out that the charges she had got when she had her driver’s license suspended due to not wearing a seatbelt have been dropped since she paid her ticket. She has learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Mom said that she has been looking at different colleges and trying to figure out what she is going to become when she “grows up.” Mom said that she has changed her mind many times and is still not certain about a college major. She is working two jobs now and is trying to save as much money as she can to get her own place for her and her child.
A mother who has been deemed a mother who “expects handouts” and who is “entitled” has had some trouble in her past with leaving various doctor’s offices to seek help from other doctors when she has been unhappy with what they have told her. Because of this, Mom and Dad are suffering from financial stresses and owe various people large amounts of money. Mom was diagnosed with endometriosis after giving birth to her son. Because of the complications, she has had with this diagnosis, Mom was told by her OB/GYN that if she would like to have another child, she would need to try as soon as possible. Mom has been having difficulty in conceiving and told FSS that she wanted to seek advice from another doctor, stating, “He’s not going to do anything for me.” FSS encouraged Mom to discuss her concerns with her OB/GYN and to create a plan with him on how to proceed. Mom has continued to seek help and medical attention from this same OB/GYN, who accepts her Medicaid insurance, which has kept Mom from owing this doctor any money. This has allowed mom and dad to save money and start paying off their other debts. Mom is currently working with her OB/GYN on getting medication that will help her ovulate, and hopefully, conceive a second time. Mom and FSS are now working on creating a budget chart and will further discuss ways to manage her family’s finances in a way that is best for them.
This particular family has been with the Healthy Families program for just about six months. Both mom and dad are first time parents and are learning all the time. At most of our visits mom and dad stay on the couch and sit while baby plays on the floor. Occasionally one of them will sit on the floor while baby is playing, but for the most part, they have been somewhat separate. This past visit I brought some Duplo blocks with me to encourage the child to stack and build; mom and dad were on the floor playing with baby for the entire visit showing him how to build towers and how to knock them down and even how to toss the blocks into a small bowl. This was one of the first times I have seen both mom and dad truly engaged with their child during a visit and spend time teaching their baby a skill and praising him when he is successful.
The family has been with the program for about seven months and from the beginning has been very focused on baby’s development. Both mom and dad are involved and have been working with baby on his growth and fine motor skills. Mom and dad developed a goal to have baby walking by the time he turned one year old or sooner. I have been bringing activities and curriculum for mom and dad to use with baby and the two have been diligent. Baby took his first independent steps this month and he is working on his confidence to walk on his own. Mom and dad both expressed pride for baby learning to walk at ten months.
A female that I am serving is a mother to three boys and was recently put in a difficult situation with her family. Her younger brother was charged with a felony, and when he was released from jail, she allowed him to live with her and her family to make sure that he stayed clean, as his felony charge was from drug use. This mother spoke with me about how she wanted to make sure that her brother was able to find a job and “get back on his feet” before he left her home. She spoke often about how she didn’t want him to go back to his old ways “because for him, that would probably be easier than getting a job and having to start over.” Recently, her brother was given temporary placement of his three year old son. Now, this mother is housing her brother and her nephew. Her brother has yet to get a job and is showing “no interest in doing anything.” She has maintained a relationship with her brother’s case worker, and even asked the case worker to hold “an emergency family meeting” to discuss with her brother about what is needed to be done to help him “get his stuff together.” I gave this mother a Warrick County resource guide that included resources for employment, housing, childcare, etc. She and her brother utilized the Ark Crisis Child Care Center for her nephew to go “so that he could start looking for jobs.” At our last visit, this mother told me that she and her husband have decided to get a Fostering License so that they can take placement of her nephew if her brother cannot maintain steady employment and housing. Given the circumstances, this mother wants her nephew to have a stable, healthy environment to live in, even if that means it is with her and her husband and not his own mother and/or father. I admire her for taking this difficult situation and thinking of this child who is caught in the middle.
The story for this month is for a mother that I have been working with who has struggled with unhealthy relationships for most of her adult life. Mom has recently been in a relationship with a man that she fears is controlling and emotionally abusive. At one of our most recent visits, I spoke with mom about what unhealthy relationships look like. Mom told me that she was aware that she is in one, stating “oh, I know it’s not healthy. I just feel stuck sometimes. Maybe I am too nice.” I gave mom a referral later to Crisis Connection if she ever felt like she needed to call and speak with someone about it. Mom was receptive. At our last home visit, Mom informed me that she had reason to believe that her boyfriend was abusing drugs “and stalking her.” Although she had been in unhealthy relationships before, Mom told me that she has never had to get law enforcement involved in the relationship. But at our last visit, Mom told me that she called the police and has filed a protective order against her boyfriend. While this is not the ideal situation, I am proud of mom for making her safety (and the safety of her children) a priority over her relationship. I think this is a great step in the right direction for her. She told me, “I have been too nice for too long, and I need to do what I can to protect my kids.”
The mother and father of a new family had both signed consents to participate in the Healthy Families Program and both were present for the baby was born, that they were discouraged and afraid they would not be able to help the baby get past the injury. Mom and Dad were shown therapy exercises to do with the baby to help build strength in the injured arm and have followed through with those exercises daily. When the family’s Healthy Families home visitor offered First Steps referral after the baby’s four month developmental scale, Mom and Dad were receptive and are now receiving First Steps services as well! Both parents are much more confident than they were when the baby was born. Awesome job from both Mom and Dad!
Family 1379 has been in the program since November 2014 and the mother has been working hard towards a goal of finishing her degree. Mom has been working part time and going to school full time while raising two children and recently getting married. FSS has brought Mom study tips and ideas on how to split her time between family and school. Mom has always been receptive. This December, Mom graduated with an Associate’s Degree and has decided to continue on with school in order to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in the time frame she chose. Mom “wants to set an example for my daughters and make something more of myself.” Mom will be taking a full time course load as well as moving up to full time in her work.
Mom is now a single mother. Mom and Dad recently divorced. Mom was very worried that if she was going to struggle juggling everything alone. Support worker sat with Mom and went through our resource packet to let mom know of some services she may not be utilizing that she could now qualify for. Support worker empowered and encouraged mom that she could do this! Mom has applied for and received child care vouchers. Mom has kept her job because of that. Mom is in nursing school and has still kept A’s and B’s in all her classes. Awesome job, mom!!
I moved into a home that was built in the late 1940’s in September of 2008. Not long after we moved in, I noticed that I was tired and not feeling well and my children began suffering from allergies, ear issues, and the constant cough/runny nose. After many trips to a specialist, my then 18-month-old son was diagnosed with allergies and asthma. I began to search the home trying to figure out why we were suddenly ill all of the time only to realize that the basement was full of mold and our furnace was down there as well, so it was circulating the mold through the house. I worked vigorously trying to correct the problem only to find that it was not an easy task to take on. The mold grew back and I felt powerless! I had an IDA account established and had seriously considered updates on the house that we were living in, but quickly realized that it was not something that we were prepared to take on.
We began the search for a new home. We decided that we worked hard and that we wanted to give our children a “forever home” and a yard to play in. We knew that we needed something that was safe and that offered a healthy environment for our family. So the search was on. I took a Home Buyers Education Class and worked tirelessly to ensure that my credit was cleaned up. I paid off old debts I had tried to escape and couldn’t. In May of 2011, I found the home that I knew was meant for me and my very large family. We started the process and ran into bump; after bump, what a long road that was! I was grateful that I had the TRI-CAP Individual Development Account when I was informed that we needed to pay for appraisals and closing costs. Those expenses were taken care through the IDA and then FINALLY… In early November 2011, we worked our day away and then signed papers and received keys to our HOME!!! I was able to issue a cashier’s check to cover the closing costs from my IDA account.
I know that without the IDA account, we would not have been able to come up with the closing cost that was needed to secure our home. We have a large family and practically live from paycheck to paycheck. The IDA certainly allowed us to make a positive move in the right direction for ourselves and our family. We have recently gone back to our allergy specialist who cleared my son’s allergy and asthma diagnoses and the rest of the family have seen a great improvement in the way that we all feel. We are grateful for such a wonderful program.
When I was a freshman in college, I was given the opportunity to open and IDA account. Due to my young age, saving for a home was the last thing on my mind, so I decided to open the account. Each month, I put in approximately $30 into the account. In doing so, it taught me to be diligent in saving each month.
Upon graduating college, I was burdened with student loan debt, and I did not think I would be able to own my own home in the near future. I had a full-time job, so 2 years later I decided to meet with a Mortgage Loan Originator. Since I had and IDA account, I was able to purchase my first home. Without that account, I would not have been able to do so. I believe that if the right individuals are given the chance to open an IDA account, they would also be able to have the huge benefit that I received. I will be forever grateful that I had this wonderful opportunity. …. IDA Graduate
Of course the approval of my application to qualify for the program was beyond my dreams. The service provided by my assigned TRI-CAP counselor provided every element of professionalism necessary to address the extensiveness of the application process. Because of my hardship I was already feeling exceedingly overwhelmed mentally and physically. The extent of the application process would make me think most potential applicants would feel bogged down and abandon the effort. My counselor provided the appropriate encouragement by guided measures to make my life and home saving final resolution possible.
The speed of the program over all impressed me. When my counselor said 30 -45 days to determine eligibility I was concerned if this was accurate given the end of the year holiday season. From my express mail submitting of packet to TRI-CAP’s e-mail notification of approval it was just 34 days. Everything my counselor said was always very accurate.
From my initial request for services to every phone call or message left, each was promptly responded to beyond what is symbolic of other agencies.
A mom was recently diagnosed with type two diabetes and liver enzymes. She was told that her Medicaid insurance would expire soon, and she was unable to see a doctor about treatments/medications before her Medicaid insurance expired. I gave mom a referral for TRI-CAP to speak to a Healthcare Navigator. At our last home visit, Mom told me that she spoke to the Healthcare Navigator and applied for HIP insurance. Because she was approved, Mom was able to see a doctor and receive the health care services she needed to address the issues she was having due to her diagnoses. Mom said she is currently using a new medication and stated, “I feel like I have so much more energy now than I used to have.”
A client contacted the TRI-CAP Breast Cancer Treatment program because the client had a large medical bill that was being turned into collections. Our TRI-CAP Case Manager was able to enroll the client in the Breast Cancer Treatment program. After the client was enrolled, we contacted the medical provider and were able to stop the bill from being turned into collections by helping pay on the client’s medical bill. This brought not only financial but emotional peace of mind to the breast cancer survivor, as she continued to receive supportive services and referrals from our Case Manager.
On 4/29/17 DC Medication Collection – Because of flooding roads in the county and the need for all available deputies, the sheriff cancelled the Medication Collection. He reported that to the area media. I called all of the RSVP volunteers and relayed the information. It is my main duty to provide a safe workplace for the volunteers. Later in the day, I heard that the ISP decided to have their site open for the collection. They work hand in hand with the DEA for the statewide project, and the DEA did not want them to cancel. As far as I know, no one else on the committee besides the chief deputy knew about this decision. Two or three people from the post collected about 300 lbs. of pharmaceuticals, cardboard packaging, plastic lids and bottles from about 216 people. It turned out to be successful.
A tornado touched down in Ireland, IN on February 28, 2017. Dubois County EMA was in need of volunteers to oversee debris dumpster sites. Our RSVP Director was contacted on 3/2 and was able to find volunteers to cover a site in Ireland on Friday evening and Sunday. She was asked to join in on the Hot Wash discussion of “what worked and what didn’t work.” The Dubois County organizations that were involved gave praise and thanks for the services of senior volunteers of TRI-CAP RSVP.
The latest accomplishment of the TRI-CAP/TRI-CAP RSVP sponsored trips was a comment I heard just today from a lady and her husband who have been on at least two of our bus trips. She said, “This is the best thing that has happened in our area in a long time.”
This couple is signed up for the Albuquerque trip in October and they also want to visit San Antonio in February and Colorado in June of 2016. She told me that they did not have an opportunity to travel when they were young, and she is just so excited to be in good enough health to do it now in their 70’s.
The Dubois County Medication Collection Project kicked off its 11th year with a collection that put us over three tons of pharmaceuticals collected since Oct 2002. All original organizers (plus the Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency) still work together on this project that impacts substance misuse and environmental stewardship. In 2012, TRI-CAP RSVP collaborated with 16 community partners on the medication collections. 737 people environmentally disposed of over 905 pounds of pharmaceuticals.
One of our Senior Volunteers is also the mother of a veteran of the Afghanistan war. She has shared the troubles that she and her husband now face with their son and his restlessness and post traumatic stress issues. She told us that her trip to Branson with TRI-CAP RSVP was the only fun she has had for a year. She thanked us and said, “What a great service you are providing to us around here.”
In 2012, TRI-CAP collaborated with 31 community partners in three counties to provide educational luncheons, each focusing on topics germane to our senior citizens and their caregivers. 79 people participated in Pike County, 75 in Warrick County, and 85 in Dubois + 100 people for The Golden Years- Senior Focus Program, a Dubois County Public Health Partnership Program.
TRI-CAP Retired and Senior Volunteers are collecting coupons to benefit our military families. Our goal for the first batch of manufacturer’s coupons to be sent to the Schweinfurt, Germany Army base as part of our United States Military Families and Veterans work plan was a face value of $5,000. We exceeded that amount for a grand total of $6,284.10.
TRI-CAP’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) continues a win/win relationship with Actors Community Theatre. ACT asks RSVP volunteers to perform Front of the House duties for their two productions each year. Each volunteer gets a free seat for the performance they are working which provides hundreds of dollars of in-kind donations, and ACT uses that community partnership data for their grant requests.
An older couple from Holland has been on all three of the motor coach trips that RSVP has sponsored in the last 12 months. The gentleman told me that they don’t care where they go; they just want to get out of Holland! I sadly had to tell them that the NYC trip has two filled buses and a waiting list. They just waited too long this time to get their reservations in. There are a half dozen people who have been on all three of our trips.
The Dubois County Substance Abuse Council has seen their availability of grant dollars shrink the last few years, which could greatly affect the sustainability of funding for the Medication Collection project that TRI-CAP RSVP spearheads. But because this project’s impact and outcomes is a direct correlation to the comprehensive work plans of the Council, this project received full funding. The project is in its 11th year with all original community partners still active and with the addition of the Indiana State Police and Drug Enforcement Agency, which pays for the disposal of the pharmaceuticals.
Community Capacity Building is an important part of the TRI-CAP RSVP Program. RSVP volunteers contribute their time and expertise to local organizations and agencies to help them keep expenses down. In June, nine volunteers gave SIRS 20 hours of their time to put a large donor appeal mailing together. The Jasper Chamber of Commerce used TRI-CAP RSVP volunteers for two different projects in June. Throughout the year, many volunteers help with civic, clerical, and fundraising activities. Volunteers do not take the place of paid employees. They help maintain their sustainability.
The Hope Community Garden sponsored by Memorial Hospital is producing! Hundreds of pounds of cherry tomatoes have been picked and delivered to food insecure areas. Cucumbers, peppers, and corn are coming along very nicely. TRI-CAP RSVP is a part of this program as a member of the End-User committee and our work is just beginning. We look forward to working with Purdue Extension and Head Start to help deliver fresh produce in our area.
TRI-CAP RSVP volunteers have been helping the DC Community Meal Program to stuff backpack buddy bags for the last two years. This is a popular project that many community groups of varied ages like to work on. This program helps children on the free and reduced meal plan with weekend food supplies. it is documented that 10.4% of the Dubois County population has ‘little or no food” at some time in a given month. That is over 4,000 people. 10th Street School in Jasper has now signed on to be a part of the program and the RSVP volunteers have been picked to make this a regularly scheduled stuffing project. A core group of 6 volunteers with a list of alternates will take on this project on a bi-weekly schedule to stuff 300+ bags per session for the school year. This program directly impacts the RSVP Food Insecurity Work Plan.
The RSVP Backpack Buddy Team consisting of six volunteers has been supplying 5th and 10th Street Schools in Jasper with 250 food bags a week. The volunteers work in conjunction with the Dubois County Community Meal Program and meet in the store room at the St. Joseph Parish Center two times a month to pack 500 bags each time. The DCCM Program funds this food program through church and community donations. The senior volunteers unbox the items and set up the packing process. The bags are packed within a 3 hour period and are stored in big totes. 10th Street school officials pick up their bags from the storeroom, and if needed, the senior volunteers deliver 5th Street’s bags to them for distribution to the students.
For numerous years, the RSVP Senior Volunteers have provided front-of-the-house help for Actors Community Theatre’s theatrical productions. This “partnership” has been a win-win for ACT and the senior volunteers. Not only does Actors Community Theatre receive the needed help with the handing out of programs and taking of tickets by the senior volunteers, the volunteers in turn become active members of the community and it allows the seniors to become part of a social setting by interacting with the theatre patrons. ACT also welcomes them to attend our productions as a thank you for volunteering. In speaking with the volunteers, one can tell that each one thoroughly enjoys the time spent volunteering. Actors Community theatre hopes this “partnership” with RSVP Senior Volunteers continues for years to come.
I understand that the RSVP program could be facing some scrutiny in the future. I certainly hope that those involved understand what a valuable resource it is to our communities. I remember as a child that my grandma was very involved as a volunteer and looked so forward to being engaged with other volunteers and enjoyed having that program to fill her retirement days with meaningful work.
As Director of the Dubois County Solid Waste District, I cannot tell you enough how much we appreciate having the RSVP volunteers help with the medication collection days twice a year in Dubois County. Many counties are unable to offer this program, but Dubois County can offer 5 different locations a year because of the volunteer assistance. Additionally, we are able to turn the medication collection day into a recycling event as well! One quarter of what we collect is recyclable packaging. In most counties, this gets disposed of, but here in Dubois County, we can offer better environmental outcomes because of these dedicated volunteers.
The RSVP program is beneficial to our community and to the volunteers who are able to spend time with their peers in a valuable way. However, no volunteer program is worth its salt without a good leader and volunteer coordinator. Becky Beckman does such a wonderful job as the RSVP Director. I have known many volunteer programs to falter or fail because volunteers are not utilized, trained, and treated in the best way possible. The RSVP Director makes all of this happen in a way that is so valuable for the community and the volunteers themselves. We thank you for RSVP’s commitment to our programming and hope it can continue far into the future!
Carla J. Striegel-Winner
Dubois County Solid Waste District
RSVP Sleep Sacks
Sleep sacks are given out at each of our Healthy Families Assessment when our Intake visits potential client families.
Here’s what our parents had to say about the infant sleep sacks made by TRI-CAP RSVP volunteers:
- Recently I (Healthy Families Intake) gave one out right after baby was born. When I returned to the home a few days later, the mother thanked me for the sleep sack. This mother stated, “Thank you so much for the sleep sack! The baby loves it. I was afraid to swaddle knowing that the baby could possibly still squirm and kick the blanket over her face, but the sleep sack is perfect. I don’t have to worry about her not being able to breathe.”
- “The sleep sack works great. It gets so hot in our apartment and I am afraid that the baby might overheat in his sleep if I swaddle him; SIDS scares me. The sleep sack is light enough that he won’t overheat.”
- “I love these and they are so much more lightweight than the ones from the store.”
- “Oh, they are so nice. I always worry they will be cold at night.”
- “They made these? That is so sweet!”
- “I used sleep sacks all the time with my first child. It is nice to have a new one for her.”
- ” I did not know that it is not safe to use a blanket in the crib. I am glad you told me this. I had a friend whose baby died of SIDS. I would feel awful if that happened to my child. Tell RSVP thank you for making these.”
- “These are so cute! I will be able to use this much longer than my other sleep sacks. The other sleep sacks are so small they grow out of them so fast.”
A single mother of three owned her home and needed weatherization services to help reduce her energy bills. Her furnace did not work and the water heater was in poor condition. The house had holes that went directly to the attic, which was allowing what heat they were getting from a ventless space heater to go directly through the roof. TRI-CAP was able to replace her furnace and water heater. We also were able to seal up all the holes to the attic and insulate the attic, as well as insulate and air seal the crawl space. The home owner was thrilled and they were all finally able to be comfortable and not have to worry so much about their heating bills. We saved this client about 50%+ on her utility cost and also gave them comfort and peace of mind at the same time. We were able to remove the ventless space heater, which kept them from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. The homeowner was extremely concerned about their situation prior to our weatherization services. She could barely pay bills and buy food. But now that the home is more energy efficient, she can concentrate on raising her children and not so much on how to pay the extremely high gas bills.
When the TRI-CAP Weatherization staff went for the initial inspection of this home, we found they were heating with a gas fired boiler furnace. The furnace was quite old and the flue pipe was rusting through, leaking dangerous fumes throughout the house. The furnace itself had actually separated at the seam from age and was only together because no one had disturbed it. This was during the summer months, but because of the danger of carbon monoxide entering the home, the auditor disabled the furnace. TRI-CAP installed a new energy efficient furnace, did some air sealing, and insulated the home. This home was selected for on-site monitoring by the State office, and upon examining her utility bill we could determine that the TRI-CAP Weatherization measures reduced her gas bill by 60% (WOW) from December 2011 vs. December 2012. December 2011 was a very mild winter compared to December 2012. This elderly homeowner has two young grandchildren living with her. They now have properly vented gas appliances along with a carbon monoxide alarm in the home to keep everyone safe. She also will have extra money from the fuel savings each month. This will help them meet their other needs and help reduce the greenhouse effect for all of us.
We received two short letters from clients in the Weatherization Program. The first came from a single mother of three, who works full time at a local trucking company. When we arrived at her home, we found the furnace in very poor condition. The exhaust pipe for the furnace had caught fire and the exhaust from the furnace was spilling into her crawlspace. We had to choice but to shut down her furnace. Below are her comments:
Without the help of TRI-CAP, I may not have been able to replace my broken furnace in a timely manner. I greatly appreciate the assistance I have received from TRI-CAP and the time it was completed in was amazing. Thanks again.
The second letter came from a family that was having issues keeping their home warm. The father was recently disabled and they had a teenage daughter in the home. We added additional insulation, tuned up their furnace, and pressure balanced the entire home to allow the furnace to work more efficiently. Heat was being distributed unevenly throughout the home. Here is the client’s comments after we had finished the work:
The furnace is running so much more efficiently. The house stays warm throughout. Thanks so much!!
It was amazing how much heat loss there was in my house. The TRI-CAP employees were all polite, prompt, hard working men that never stopped until their scheduled lunch. They knew what they were doing and did a great job at it. I wouldn’t know where you could find any other company or source that would be more knowledgeable finding the absence of insulation and knowing how to fix the problem. Everything made sense in what they needed to do to correct the problem. I’m actually getting excited to see what my Vectren bill will be.
Energy Assistance Program:
I applied for help with my utilities due to the fact I’m 79 years of age and I have COPD, asthma. and crippling arthritis in my neck and back and most of my other joints.
It’s impossible for me to work so I must depend on my social security for everything and I only draw $988.00 per month….That just barely covers the bare essentials. You can imagine how far that amount would go.
So it is my heartfelt “thank you” that I extend to TRI-CAP for their assistance with my utilities during this winter season. Without it this would be a miserable cold winter.
It’s good to know that there is an organization like TRI-CAP, and hopefully others, that will extend a helping hand to old folks like me and others. You have my undying gratitude for your help.