Student graduates to success

When youth is not carefree, life can get even more difficult as the years continue.

Or someone can offer a helping hand and the story can begin to turn.

That was the case for Renee Gibson. She grew up in a home of divorce where she experienced abuse, homelessness, neglect and other problems that could have kept her from thriving.

When she was 15-years-old, she went to live with her older brother and his wife. They became like her parents.

But the problems didn’t immediately go away. Gibson graduated from high school and attended college. While a student, she became pregnant.

“I needed to finish school and I really couldn’t afford to put my daughter in private day care.”

Gibson remembers going to The Nest and meeting a Child Care Director who she described as “beyond phenomenal.” As an infant, her daughter received the individualized care she couldn’t have gotten at another place. Gibson began to fit her school schedule around The Nest’s Child Care hours so she could continue to take her daughter there.

“They are the reason I finished school . . .the reason my child has grown into the personality she has.”

Gibson believes The Nest Child Care Program benefits children in numerous ways. “A lot of these kids don’t get a hug,” she says, noting they can find that at The Nest. “There’s a wonderful sense of love, security and safety that the kids get for eight hours. She points out that they also have structure and rules, which provide another sort of lesson for them.

For the parents, she sees that The Nest, “. . . brings such a sense of relief and love, especially for single women, that nowhere else in this community provides. . .I think the Nest is the best.”

Gibson has worked hard for herself and her daughter. Now a college graduate, she is enjoying a career in sales. She says, “You only fail when you let your excuses get in the way.”

Nothing is getting in her way.

A letter from a Grandmother

To the staff members of The Nest,

Words can never express how thankful I am for your services. The respite care you gave to my granddaughter not only gave me a chance to obtain employment again, it also let her experience day care a little bit at a time. When I obtained custody of her she wouldn’t sleep in her own room and was my shadow. She was 18 months old and still on a bottle. Those were some trying times. Once she began to sleep in her room, it was time to wean her from me in order for her to live and in order for me to rejoin the work force. You’ll never know how much her visits to The Nest helped. She’s a happy, talkative 2 1/2 year old who is 95% potty trained, goes to day care (aka ‘school’), knows her colors and loves to sing. Thank you for caring then and now.

A grandmother

Child Care helps family transition as child thrives

Haley raises her hand and waves it high, excited at the opportunity to answer a question from the visiting musician. It’s not something The Nest child care teachers would have anticipated when the three-year-old first came to The Nest.

Haley moved with her mother and two older siblings to Lexington when her father went to jail for spouse abuse. Haley’s mother, Jana, had to face life as a single mother who needed to provide for three children in an unfamiliar place. She was understandably overwhelmed at what faced her. As one Nest child care teacher said, “Mom was really a mess.”

The Nest provided a safe place for Haley to receive care and education while Jana assessed her options. That care began in April of 2010. That respite time allowed Jana to decide she needed to return to school and find a job. As she worked toward those goals, she had to move her family three times but she always kept Haley at The Nest to provide her with important stability and educational opportunities. At the same time, the staff learned about the clothing needs of her older siblings and passed on the items when they came in. The child care teachers also talked with Jana daily when she arrived, staying up-to-date on her situation and any additional needs she had identified.

Jana began without a GED and relying on KTAP assistance and Food Stamps as her only income. She earned her GED then started attending school at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. She continues at BCTC, working a part-time job that helps her build business skills, which is her area of study. With support, she was able to begin creating a more stable life for her family. She has enrolled her children in sports and Big Brothers/Big Sisters and takes them to church.

Haley's behavior has improved and she loves to learn. She responded well to the educational activities and has scored at average or above on each of the five educational assessment areas. She's a happier child who continues to thrive as she begins preparing for kindergarten.

Successes Archive