April was shy and hesitant to reach out for help. When she first met Sophia, her case manager from
Ventura County’s Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP), she couldn’t even look her in the eye. AFLP serves expectant and parenting youth and Sophia was there to provide in-home support for April twice a month following the birth of April’s baby. Although April knew she needed guidance and someone to talk to, she was hesitant at first because no one had ever asked her if she needed help before.
With Sophia’s support and encouragement, and the tools she provided along the way, April is now a confident young woman who is surprising herself by asking questions, taking on new challenges and achieving goals she never thought she could. She’s also surprising her case manager, Sophia: “She’s not the same person anymore, from when we started to now ... how she developed, how she advocates for herself.”
Developing a caring case manager-youth relationship was essential to bringing April out of her shell. When Sophia began sharing information about herself, April could relate to her and began to see her case manager as a trusted adult with whom she could confide. Together, they worked to define April’s strengths, goals and how to access resources April needed for her and her daughter.
One resource in particular changed April’s trajectory for the better. Sophia connected April to a regional occupation program (ROP) that provides technical training for a variety of positions in the medical field. Pharmacy tech instantly struck a chord with April and she worked collaboratively with Sophia to figure out how to make the goal of becoming a pharmacy technician a reality. But there was a problem: low enrollment numbers threatened to cancel the class. To ensure she could participate in the program, April – at the request of her principal – became a program ambassador at her school. As a program ambassador, April needed to talk in front of her peers about the technical training classes. Though nervous at first about this leadership role, April had worked too hard to have the training program go away – and fortunately, for April – it didn’t.
“When I got into the pharmacy tech program I realized there is no break, you can’t slack off,” and that’s where Sophia’s advice to April about planning her day and getting herself organized kicked in. She bought a planner and scheduled her days. To balance work, high school and her pharmacy tech program, April would spend mornings with her daughter and do homework at naptime. When her daughter got older, she wanted to be just like mom, so she would draw, using pen and paper, as April studied. This provided April the time she needed to be a great mom and a successful student.
After completing the pharmacy tech program, April secured employment at a local pharmacy. She is not fearful talking to customers and interacting with her coworkers. The confidence she has gained from AFLP is tremendous and now, April’s life is so much more than she could have imagined. She has a great job, she is providing for her daughter and she hopes to soon move into an apartment of her own. As an AFLP graduate, April knows she has the tools she needs to thrive beyond the program.