December Success Stories in PA
December Success Stories in PA
Agency spotlights
December 2021 Newsletter
Success Stories From PA Community Action
Two Motherhood Success Stories

Programs Supporting Mothers

 Spotlight on Blueprints

Two mothers overcome unique challenges through Blueprint's partnership and guidance.

Teema's Story

Women, Infant &Children (WIC) Program
One of Blueprints' main priorities is to support families as they break barriers and build futures. Teema McElvy is a single mother of three that started her journey with Blueprints initially through the Early Learning and Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) programs.
Teema enrolled her children in the Head Start Program and immediately seized the opportunity to enroll in Blueprints' programming.  Her goal was to propel her career and brighten her future while her three children learned in a nurturing environment.
Teema was familiar with Head Start, having a daughter (Nashaia, now 17) enrolled in the program before they moved to Pennsylvania.  Jaheim, now 8 years old, truly benefited from the wrap-around services available through Blueprints’ Head Start program, which focuses on education, health, social interactions, and addressing behavioral challenges.  This experience propelled him for success in Kindergarten and beyond.  Jaleel, now 6 years old, could not wait to participate in class each weekday morning.  While Jaleel had no challenges achieving educational milestones, Teema was impressed with unexpected new things he learned through the program. 
As her children grew, Teema opted to take full advantage of Blueprints’ array of programming for adults throughout their learning years.  First, she enrolled in Blueprints' Getting Ahead Program, a 16-week course that connects participants to resources and opportunities. Each week Teema attended, she received money towards her barrier elimination fund. Teema used this fund to purchase her children's school clothes and supplies.
Through the Getting Ahead Program, Teema created a “future story” for her life and she has been working towards the goals she identified in that story, ever since.  To reach her goal of self-sufficiency, Teema enrolled in Blueprints’ Financial Literacy and Home Ownership Center programs. These programs offered her the chance to engage in budget management and credit counseling, so she can eventually meet another goal - owning her own home. 
With the goal of homeownership, Teema enrolled in Blueprints’ Matched Savings Account Program, which offers a $2 to $1 match for every dollar she saved. Savings can be used towards a home purchase, post-secondary education, or the start or expansion of a small business. Teema was inspired by her mom to complete the Matched Savings Program, as her mom also received assistance to purchase her first home. Teema has currently saved over $1,300 and is on track to complete the program this year.

Finally, Teema also worked with Blueprints’ 2GEN Program Coordinator, Hilary Clark, to help her focus on career goals. She is currently working to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) through the Greene County Career and Technology Center. With the help of Blueprints, Teema received a grant to pay for her schooling.
"From the day I first met her, Teema had a fire in her eyes and I could see how determined she was to build her future,” said Blueprints’ 2GEN Coordinator Hilary Clark. “Regardless of the barriers she encountered as part of her journey, she always had a positive attitude regarding her goals and kept looking towards her future.” 
When she graduates this year as an LPN, she will be the first in her family to graduate with a post-secondary degree. Her dream is to work in a long-term care facility or hospital to help those in need. 
“Blueprints has been an inspiration to me throughout my journey. They have good, positive and helpful staff. If I ever need information or help with anything, they always support me,” shares Teema. “I would recommend Blueprints to anyone who is in need of community resources to assist them along their way in life.” 
CAAP congratulates Teema for her hard work, nearing LPN graduation, and having the determination to make her dream a reality.
Michelle’s story
Early Head Start Home Base Program
Another Blueprints' priority is to enable individuals to attain the skills, knowledge, motivations, and opportunities to become self-sufficient.  They partnered with Michelle, who has faced the struggle of addiction in the past.  When she learned about her unexpected pregnancy it immediately changed her course for life.  Michelle moved to Washington, PA from Erie with the intent to change her life and to work on her addiction recovery.
Michelle began by involving herself in what the community had to offer: joining recovery groups, living in the Avis Women’s Shelter, and connecting with many local resources - including a new partnership with the staff at Blueprints.  After learning about the Early Head-Start Home Base Program that provides services to women with high needs and mitigating risk factors such as women in recovery from substance abuse, Michelle enrolled in the program. 
Being determined to have a better life for herself and her baby, Michelle discussed ideas with her Blueprints Home Base Visitor. Those ideas included wanting to seek employment and find appropriate housing for herself and her baby.
Blueprints partnered with Michelle to help ensure that by the time her baby was born, Michelle was sober and her child could thrive safely. They discussed Blueprints EHS Child Care Program (EHS CCP) that would provide her child with child care while she worked.  It is through the Blueprints CONNECT Program that Michelle was able to find housing.  She remained persistent with finding a job and starting daycare now that she had a nice place to live. 
By the time her daughter, Aleena, was born, Michelle was sober and began nurturing life for her daughter, who became her entire world.  Michelle enrolled Aleena in the Blueprints EHS CCP SmartKids Child Care Center in January 2020.  She also contacted Career Link to help her find a job that would work with Aleena’s daycare schedule.  Within a month Michelle had a job, she was enrolled in EHS CCP.  She also applied and began receiving the child care subsidy through the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) and continued building a new life with Aleena.  
Michelle is very happy with the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Program that Aleena is enrolled in.  Within months of starting the program, Aleena’s speech and language improved.  Aleena started doing sign language to better communicate.  Now a year later, she is speaking full sentences.  The EHS CCP has provided opportunities for Michelle to volunteer in the classroom, where she got to know the teachers and other children.  She is very involved in Aleena’s education and loves SmartKids!  At 2 years old, the SmartKids staff helped in potty training Aleena!
Because she is still enrolled in the ELRC, Michelle will be able to continue to take Aleena to childcare after she transitions to preschool. Michelle is now happy to report that she is supporting herself and her daughter as she journeys further to achieve self-sufficiency.
CAAP commends Michelle for her strength and the courage to believe in herself as she builds a life of financial and personal independence.
View the programs and services offered by Blueprints, including:
  • Rental Assistance & Home Ownership
  • Foster Care & Adoption
  • Afterschool Programing
  • Head Start, Early Head Start & Pre-K Counts
  • Digital Literacy
  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
  • Senior Centers and Services
  • Employment & Financial Development
  • Re-Entry
  • Many other Programs for your Mind, Home, Health and Wallet

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