At 17, Maria was pregnant and missing school because she was often sick. In addition, she was the primary care-provider for her grandmother who suffered from a number of health issues. As these issues became “too much for her to handle,” she dropped out of high school. A year and a half later, after learning about the school from her cousin, Maria enrolled in Association House’s El Cuarto Año High School to earn her high school diploma and enrolled her daughter, who was almost two, in the Out of School Time Sitter Services program.
As a requirement to graduate, Maria was required to take a health class. She enrolled in a special course specifically for parenting students that was developed and taught by the Healthy Lifestyles Program. After telling the Healthy Lifestyles trainer about her grandmother, she was given a Cook County Prescription Drug Discount Card, which helped her and her grandmother save nearly $200 per month on her prescriptions.
Maria, now 20, enrolled in the Healthy Lifestyles’ Parenting Series to “learn how to be the best mom I can.” In a program evaluation survey she stated: “It sounds corny but I finally realize the importance of being healthy. I didn’t even realize the things I was doing. I want to be healthy for my daughter and I want my daughter to be healthy. I love my grandma but I don’t want my daughter to have to put her life on hold to take care of me when I am older. Thanks to Nilmari and the health and nutrition classes I attended, I know how to find healthier food at the grocery store, how to make healthy meals, and how to have fun and be exercise with my daughter.”