Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center, Napa

In an illuminating example of how family resource centers act as interconnected webs of services to help families in Napa County not only deal with critical needs and crises, but also provide the tools by which families can not only survive but thrive, here is a story from Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center in Napa:

In a self-initiating step toward improving herself in order to help her children advance academically and emotionally, a 36-year old mother of four and her family enrolled  in two Puertas Abiertas programs: Plaza Comunitaria, a self-paced, adult education program which allows participants to advance their education in their native language (Spanish), laying the foundation to learn a second language (Engish), as well as Middle School Connections, a program designed to assist parents  of middle school students in navigating the critical adolescent years. This mother and her children were making great strides in both programs, and the mother was eagerly awaiting her diploma, as she had recently passed all the elementary education models of the Plaza Comunitaria program.

In a moment, everything changed for this family. On the way home from working two jobs, the family’s father was in a terrible single-car accident, leaving him on life support. After having already established trust with Puertas Abiertas’ staff, they were the first people the mother turned to in order to navigate the daunting labyrinth of hospitals, bureacracies, and the basic survival needs of her family.

The Puertas Abiertas staff helped this mother with the agonizing process of taking her husband off of life support, going to the hospital to provide support and assistance the day the respirator keeping her husband alive was turned off and his organs were harvested. They connected her with the Mexican Consulate to help her find less expensive funeral services, filling out all paperwork and forms as needed. She and her family were connected to other counseling programs, rental assistance programs and low-income housing.

This woman’s elementary diploma arrived a few weeks after the funeral, and the Puertas Abiertas group made a special recognition for her. She is now working (one of her husband’s employers offered her a job) and is providing for her four children. Both the mother and the team at Puertas Abiertas continue to build this family’s stability, strength and security.

For more information or to conduct an interview, please contact Rejane Brito, executive director, Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center, 707.224.7786.