In August I had the privilege to help create images that tell the important stories of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago. These stories were shared in Metropolitan Family Service's 2017 annual report here. Partnering with organizations impacting change and empowering folks in their communities is my favorite work to do and I am grateful to be entrusted with these stories!
MFS's mission is to provide and mobilize the services needed to strengthen families and communities and I have worked with them to see just how that is occurring through their numerous programs that empower the community. Here are just 2 recent stories:
Meeting the first family at MSF's Midway's center began with 2 giggly little girls. I immediately adored them and their beautiful Mom; Jazmin. Jazmin is expecting her third little girl soon and told us about how much the Midway Center has meant to her family. At home they primarily speak Spanish at so she really was searching for an affordable, quality childcare center and preschool for her girls; Jayleen, 5, and Guadalupe, 4.
These sisters clearly adore each other and were so eager to show me their school!
Both girls now attend Midway Children’s Center, and when Jazmin’s third daughter, due in October, is old enough Jazmin plans to enroll her at Metropolitan’s Learning and Wellness Center. Jazmin told me that she really could not work without the support of MFS and their programs!
I accompanied them to the girl's classroom and it was easy to see why the girls look forward to coming to the center each day. There was singing, hands on play and much excitement in learning! The Midway Children's Center is just one way MFS is supporting & empowering families!
Adoption Preservation is an area that does not get enough research, support, and resources and I loved hearing about the difference and impact MSF's programs and resources has made on Katie & her family. Katie's first family struggled with addiction and the home environment was unstable and unsafe. Katie and her sister eventually came to live with their Aunt Gloria and her family. The transition was difficult as the girls dealt with trauma and adjusted to their new home. Gloria shared vulnerably that after the adoption she was at the end of her rope, "I could not find anyone willing to help."
Even though Katie was in a safe home she struggled day to day and their family reached out repeatedly for help only to discover dead ends and frustration amidst their difficulties. Gloria felt alone, frustrated, & desperate.
For years Gloria used every resource available to her — from hospitals to local agencies — but could not find the support they needed. After calling every agency in the DCFS handbook, she finally reached Tiaira Robinson, a therapist with Metropolitan’s Adoption Preservation program. Gloria said that it did not take long to see that Tiaira was trustworthy and was here for the long haul to help them!!
For a year now Katie has received therapy, psychiatric services, anger management classes, therapeutic day camp, and weekly visits with a mentor — and Tiaira has applied to extend services for an additional year.
Gloria says she feels peace now knowing that MSF will not leave them without support. These community empowering programs exist because of the good work of Metropolitan Family Services and I am grateful to get to see the impact and tell stories with MFS!