Ariz. non-profit offers families home support
Agency focuses on strengthening communication
This summer, 16 Arizona non-profits shared $425,000 in grants from the “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child” specialty license plate program.
The license-plate program was started in 1999 as a joint effort between The Arizona Republic/az central.com, the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family and the Arizona Community Foundation. Since then, more than $9 million has been distributed to agencies working to prevent child abuse and neglect.
The license plates are $25, $17 of which goes to the agencies. Get your plate at servicearizona .com.
This series takes a closer look at the work being done by the nonprofits. Featured today: Parent Aid.
Helping families thrive
Parent Aid, Tucson Grant amount: $7,500. 520-798-3304, parentaid. org.
As a single mother of two boys, ages 8 and 11, Arelis Velasquez wanted to make sure she could continue to communicate with her sons at their level as they grew older.
“I had fears that my kids would be influenced by others and think, for example, that doing drugs is appropriate, or make decisions that might harm themselves or others,” she said.
Velasquez, from Tucson, wanted to have conversations about topics like this, but she wasn’t sure where to start. So, she asked for help from a school official and was referred to Parent Aid.
Parent Aid, located in Tucson, provides programs to strengthen families, including in-home visits, as well as free classes and workshops for families. The nonprofit has been around for 26 years, but transitioned to in-home support for par- ents about 10 years ago when they realized how different family situations could be.
The Velasquez family has been receiving home visits for about six months. Frequency of visits vary from family to family. Velasquez said that in her case, visits were initially once a week with just her and the family support specialist, but changed to twice a week with the whole family. The family specialist first observed to see how Velasquez was implementing discipline methods but later started suggesting new methods and providing advice.
“My discipline was different and the program has helped me see things in a different way,” she said. “Because I have changed my methods of discipline, my boys’ behavior has improved.”
For example, instead of punishing or shaming her boys when they do something wrong, Velasquez said she explains why their behavior was wrong which helps to prevent things from happening in the future. She said this is important to build their self-esteem.
Parent Aid’s managing executive director, Nicole Perez, said the agency recognizes the need to support families.
Through the grant provided by the “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child” license-plate sales, the agency is able to offer one-time workshops focusing on everything from discipline and routine to sleep habits.
Workshops at the agency focus on many different areas, helping with family enrichment and touching on topics such as development, communication, bonding, behavior management and selfcare.
The “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child” grant program is primarily funded by the sale of the specialty license plate. Get yours at servicearizona.org. Additional funds are provided by the BHHS Legacy Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Valley of the Sun United Way.
Arelis Velasquez smiles with her sons, Robert and Jorge.