We sat down to an interview with our partner Wendy Miron, Director of the Parenting and Child Development Program at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services (LSA) to hear about what drives her in her work, with families like Maria’s.
What inspires you about the work you do?
I am inspired by the strength of the people I work with and their ability to overcome adversities and work towards achieving their goals, whatever they might be; the resilience that propels individuals to continue to strive to improve the opportunities they have for themselves and their children reminds me of the abundant human potential in all of us. I strive to provide those I encounter with resources, information, and encouragement to think critically about their own choices and ways we can each find our own voice so that collectively, we can create social change.
Can you share a recent success story with me?
Recent months have been particularly challenging for families in the program who are fearful due to anti-immigrant policies and divisive rhetoric coming out of the new administration. It has disrupted daily functioning to a level none of us were prepared for (or even imagined possible). Program staff has been providing social-emotional support to families and while these interventions cannot begin to address the level of toxic stress currently being experienced by families, I see these efforts as a story of success. I find comfort in knowing that as difficult as all of this is, families have a place to go where they feel safe, will continue to receive support and information and when they come to our program/agency they are treated with the respect and dignity every human being deserves. There is a great deal that must take place in order to restore a sense of safety in immigrant communities, but I am proud of the way we have been able to respond.
Why do you think financial education is important for your constituency?
Ever since I started working at LSA, I have been working with Qualitas. I have witnessed how helpful the workshops have been for those who have participated. I was initially impressed with the family financial literacy workshop and the way in which facilitators effectively engaged the children in conversations about saving/spending. As we continued collaborating, I witnessed that many women who graduated from the 8 session workshop series appeared to have gained a sense of confidence, transforming many aspects of their lives. Working with a primarily immigrant population, financial education is key for families who strive for a better future to have the tools to plan for that future. It also helps them to gain better understanding of U.S systems. There are so many structural barriers that challenge one’s ability to achieve financial stability, but the tools and greater understanding clients gain through these workshops can help them make informed decisions about their spending, begin conversations with their partners, and often, allows women the opportunity to gain a greater sense of independence. With the current political crisis, helping clients plan, avoid fraud, and prepare has been of great value.
Would you like to share a special message with the community?
I encourage us to continue to share our knowledge and continue to stand out against injustice to build stronger communities.