The half empty streets sounded hushed, the air smelled clean and a sense of hope blossomed in Thi during her first days in America. The mother of one daughter was expecting her second child when she arrived in America in 2016 accompanied by her husband. They were welcomed by family on her husband’s side and began settling into their new life, much different from the bustle of their home in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.
When Thi gave birth to her son in 2017, the hospital contacted IRCO on their behalf. Before their son was born it was easier to navigate language and culture barriers because their needs were simple, but with a newborn the couple needed help finding the right doctors, dentists and schools.
“Raising children is different here,” says Thi, a stay-at-home mom. “I hope to help my children find independence.”
Kimlien, the family’s Early Learning Coordinator, has seen them grow to a family of 5 over the last 3 years. She has watched them buy their first home, the daughter grow up to be studious and quiet, the middle son excel at making friends, and the youngest son copy his brother’s every move.
The Early Learning Program empowers Thi and her husband to take initiative of teaching and raising their children by providing the resources that will help them succeed. Prior to COVID-19, caseworkers visited the family two times per week to play with the children and talk to the parents about their progress. Thi acknowledged that the home visits were her children’s favorite part about the program.
Kimlien sees how COVID-19 has taken a toll on the children, especially when they are unable to see their classmates or have daily social interactions with peers. But she hopes the activities and home-visits from IRCO’s Early Learning Program help. Home visits still happen, but less frequently and maintaining social distancing guidelines, and activity boxes are now delivered to replace in-person activities.
Things undoubtedly look different this year, but the community the family’s community at IRCO has remained steady.
“My children always look forward to visits from IRCO staff because they have so much fun. My hope for my children is that they grow up healthy and build a life for themselves here in America,” said Thi.
A gift from you will ensure that the disruptions of the pandemic and election year will not impact the services IRCO clients need.