Brighton Center

Cierra

One morning, as I was cutting out laminated red and green circles to teach my children “Red Light Green Light,” I thought of Brighton Center. I thought about everything this program taught me and the way it affected my parenting to this day. I was introduced to Brighton Center’s Every Child Succeeds (ECS) program in 2013 through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). I was pregnant with my daughter Lyla and didn’t know what to expect as a new mother. I joined for the extra resources, not knowing the actual difference it was going to make in my life as well as my children’s lives. ECS provided a priceless gift. They shaped my belief that I can do better, that I am capable of raising a child, and that I didn’t have to fail as a parent. As of May 2017, I have had two children graduate from Every Child Succeeds. 

Lyla has not been the easiest to parent. She recently was diagnosed with a developmental delay and we wondered if she would ever really talk. At four years old, she finally started to talk at a two and a half year old level. Then a few months after she turned four, we were doing our regular store outing where we discuss items we see and what people are doing (an exercise taught through ECS) when Lyla picked up a door knob and asked “mommy, what is this?” This was her first full sentence that I completely understood. I wept. I have worked so hard to make speech a huge focus in our home and that began with Brighton Center’s help. It began with the research, resources, and tools ECS provided. Her teachers, family members, and our friends just gave up on her communication or getting her to participate like other children do, but I never did.

Some days I could see Lyla was wearing out my home visitor, but she never complained or lost her patience. She just helped me. She provided support my daughter doesn’t receive from many other people. She treated my child just like any other child, which I don’t often see from most people we encounter. 
ECS taught me that my child can succeed. Early in my children’s lives the program trained me to ask questions and then ask some more, to seek help but also to accept it, to do my research, to try new approaches and then try them again. Over the four years we were in the program, I’ve read countless books on speech, child psychology, and behavioral therapies. I fight for my children every single day and I know I am not helpless. That is a direct result of the habits and practices ECS instilled in me over the years in the program.

Lyla is now surpassing expectations. Her teachers look forward to having her in class. She participates like every other child and has made many friends, which is almost directly opposite of where she was a year ago. She follows directions, is a joy to take out to dinner, and loves to help. We will be starting her in dance classes in a few weeks. My two year old son, Gage, is thriving and is in a soccer class for toddlers. We are able to talk to our children and have them respond back. 

I want to thank Brighton Center for providing ECS for my children. I don’t know if I could have done any of this without those early years of guidance and support. ECS provided gifts some may take for granted and we put these into action every day of our lives. I think the most important gifts I received was the ability to not give up on my children and to not give up faith in myself. I see parents facing obstacles alone and when times get hard they give up; thinking they are powerless. It breaks my heart. I know I can’t fix everything. I know I don’t have control over everything that happens to my children, but thanks to Brighton Center, I can give it my all and make a difference in their lives. 

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