In South Carolina, 289,000 children — 27% — live in poverty, limiting their access to environments and opportunities that support optimal development. On top of that, 70,000 South Carolina 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in a preschool program, despite the fact that high-quality preschool programs have been shown to help students enter school prepared for success.
These at-risk children often struggle with developmental disorders and delays, and they desperately need help. As part of the SC Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, we strive to provide the nurturing, education and support they require to blossom and succeed. Since the inception of the program in 2011, over 6200 caregivers and children have been enrolled in the program, 70% of which were living below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.
“When I was assigned to be the Treatment Coordinator in the Dandelions Room in October 2015, I met a little boy who was very shy and timid. He would allow students to take play materials out of his hand and he would run to a familiar adult when a particular student would come towards him. He was very afraid of this particular student due to the student being aggressive with him. His little heart would be racing out of fear. Lori and I would provide him with verbal prompts, coaching, and modeling to express his displeasure. He would not express his displeasure and shake his head no.
After Christmas break, in January 2016, Lori and I saw a different child. He was talking more and standing up for himself without verbal prompts. He became a very happy and very talkative little one, who blossomed by talking and singing from the top of his lungs.”
– Treatment Coordinator
I have been at A Child’s Haven for almost two years and it touches my heart to see the progress made in the children. Several came to us withdrawn, angry or refusing to communicate. Some had one of these issues listed but many had all and more. We have a child in our Lilies classroom that is now using language and beginning to engage with other peers. When he first started, he ran, threw items, and climbed nonstop. The progress he has made just since January gives me encouragement to continue being a voice, a help, a reason to make this world a better place, one precious child at a time.
When David started in the Lilies room, he was nonverbal and did not know how to express himself to adults or the other children in the room. During his time here at A Child’s Haven, David learned ways to communicate with others. His intelligence has shown through as he has quickly caught on to signing words such as “more” or “help.”
After some time, David found his voice. He was fascinated by shapes and enjoyed verbally identifying the ones he found in our therapeutic room. He also learned to interact with the other children using simple phrases like “turn please.” Through the compassion and collaboration of the therapeutic staff in the Lilies room, David experienced success by learning to communicate with others in a positive way.
One success story is a child I work with on a daily basis. I’ve seen a shy and quiet child completely change over the past few months. Upon arriving to A Child’s Haven she was shy, often cried, did not engage peers or staff, and did not express anything verbally or nonverbally.
Over the past few months she’s grown monumentally in all of these areas. She now loves interacting with staff and often initiates interactions with them. She is quite silly and loves to laugh. We’ve seen her personality bloom here. She often attempts to surprise staff during activities and has the biggest smile. She engages peers and often seeks out peers to help clean up materials and accomplish activities. She signs her wants and is very proud to use them to express herself. She has even become comfortable enough to speak to one staff member.
This progress is one small success, and it’s so encouraging to see the difference we make!
Whether you donate to A Child’s Haven, volunteer your time, or refer a family, you can help build brighter futures for children in the Upstate.