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Jeff and Nathaniel's Story

Jeff is an emotionally drained, hardworking, single father in his middle 30’s. Jeff is the primary caregiver for his witty, talkative, and bright son Nathaniel, who is 4 years old. Throughout Nathaniel’s life his mother has repeatedly abandoned the family, as she suffers the effects of alcoholism. For Jeff, the full-time job of caring for Nathaniel is daunting due to Nathaniel’s tendencies to be impulsive and explosive in anger. Nathaniel does not have the skills to appropriately express how he feels so he lashes out when he is frustrated. Limited contact with his mother has added to Nathaniel’s feelings of frustration. Jeff loves his son, but is at his wits end by his recent issues with child care.

Jeff made his way to 4C for help because Nathaniel has been in and out of five different child care centers in the past fourteen months. Because of Nathaniel’s outbursts and violent tendencies, he had been kicked out of three of these centers. Jeff was desperate to get his son the care he deserves and said that he did not care how far he had to travel to get his son quality care—“I know my boy is a good boy and I just want to be able to take him somewhere where they won’t call him a bad boy…because he is a good boy (who’s having a hard time).”

Vanessa, one of 4C’s Play & Learn Facilitators recommended to Jeff that he should work with 4C’s Inclusion Specialist, Krista, to find new care. Jeff was leery to share too much information with potential new centers about Nathaniel’s behavior, fearing rejection yet again. Krista encouraged Jeff to be honest about Nathaniel’s needs and shared that she would be there to support his new teachers during his adjustment to the new center.

With Krista’s help Jeff found a new child care center, a Level 3 on Paths to QUALITY. Nathaniel and Jeff are working with a counselor and Krista is continuing to serve as a resource for Nathaniel’s new teachers. Together they are finding strategies to facilitate Nathaniel’s learning and his involvement with other children in the classroom. His teachers are surprised and encouraged by his cognitive abilities. It is a day by day process for Nathaniel as his teachers learn to identify his triggers and ways to calm him down. Jeff and Nathaniel’s teachers have begun to build a relationship that is based on trust and a mutual desire to give Nathaniel the best possible start in school and in life.

Affordable, accessible, high quality early care and education makes a difference for this young family.

You can make a difference too. By supporting 4C, you can make a difference for families like Jeff’s and for so many others.

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