Bilal’s mom, Eram, shares how their involvement with the Family Center helped them reach their goals.
My name is Eram, and I am a single mother of an amazing son who is 5 years old. I was introduced to the Farrell Family Center in September of 2019 by a referral from my Primary Health outreach worker. I was living by myself with my son, who is my whole life, in an apartment. I had all these hope and dreams for my son and myself, but coming from another country, I was not familiar with the area and I had no friends or family for support. I wanted so much for my son, Bilal, to learn to speak English and to have a proper education. I wanted him to have a good life and to grow big, strong, and happy. America is the land of opportunities and I knew the opportunities existed, I just needed support
to steer us in the right direction.
Bilal turned four the day Danielle, my parent educator, came to my place for a home visit. She introduced the Parents as Teachers program and I was so excited. We sat down and made a list of the goals I had wanted for my son and myself, the most important being his education. Bilal had never been around other children in this country and I was his only means of interaction. In my home, I speak Hindi and English, but he was not getting the proper interaction he needed to learn the language. The first thing Danielle did was refer him to Early Intervention speech therapy through the Midwestern Intermediate Unit. This was the first step in providing my son the opportunity to learn and I could not have been happier. I remember listening to him work with the speech teacher and he said the word “yes” for the first time. I was overjoyed! This was such an important milestone in our lives and I will never forget that day.
With continued visits from the Family Center and speech therapy from the MIU, my son was beginning to speak English and started having conversations with me,something that was not present before these programs. Danielle provided the information so that Bilal could start the Head Start program, which he is currently attending, and this fall he will be starting kindergarten. My dreams for my son are coming true!
The Family Center has provided us with so many opportunities to learn and grow. Through home visits, Bilal has learned to cut with scissors, paint, work on crafts, play games, color, put puzzles together, work on experiments, and so much more. During one of the home visits he was introduced to LEGOS. Bilal loved building with the LEGOS and since then, he has a collection of his own LEGOS. I love to watch him build and create and to see where his imagination goes!
The program has shown us the importance of reading and before he goes to bed, he chooses two books for us to read together. We have been on field trips with the Family Center and have had the chance to see new things, meet new people and have experiences I would not have thought possible.
The Family Center has also provided me with a lot of tools and information to help my child succeed and be healthy. Some of the ways I have learned to help Bilal were not possible in India. These things are new to me and I want the best for my son, so I am grateful for all that I have learned to be the best parent and teacher for Bilal. He is now having conversations, laughing, playing with other children, creating, building, and is on his way to becoming the best he can be, which is all I had ever wanted for him.
When Danielle and I sat down and wrote those goals for my son and myself, I knew exactly what I wanted. I had wanted to purchase a car, file for a divorce, and obtain my citizenship. I wanted to change my son’s last name to mine, work on my education and find a job, and of course, help Bilal to speak English and enroll him in school. Through the support of the Family Center and other people who I met along the way, I am proud to say that I am a single mother with custody of my son, I am a citizen of the United States, his last name is now the same as mine, I purchased a car and drive all over with the help of my GPS of course, and my son speaks English and is in school.
He is healthy, happy, and learning new things every day. This is all I ever wanted and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I myself will continue to grow and learn in this great country which has provided me with these programs that are not available in India. I want to use my education and eventually find a job so that I can continue to make a better life for my son and myself.
I am forever grateful to the Primary Health outreach worker who introduced me to the Farrell Family Center Parents as Teachers program. Their continued support means so much to us as we are faced with these times. We are both on our way to reaching our full promise, learning new things and experiencing life!