Like so many Oklahomans who find themselves in the midst of a crisis, Claire* came to Positive Tomorrows following a struggle with addiction. After facing felony charges, Claire was determined to forge a fresh start for herself and her 4 young children.
After completing a residential treatment program for substance abuse, Claire and her children Derek, Maddie, Zack and Zane were living at Martha’s House, a local transitional housing program sponsored by Neighborhood Services Organization. It was NSO who first told Claire about PT, a place where her kids could have stability and a quality education while she received the support she needed to create a better life.
Claire’s two oldest, Derek and Maddie, were eligible to attend school with us at PT, while her twin toddlers stayed with her during the day. Derek enrolled in the second grade and Maddie enrolled in pre-k. A trauma-informed classroom environment and small student-to-teacher ratio ensured that Derek and Maddie received the support and care they needed to be successful socially, emotionally and academically both inside and outside of the classroom.
Derek and Maddie were also signed up for therapy at PT, and their counselors, teachers and case managers were able to work together to ensure they were processing their experiences and making progress. Derek quickly began to thrive and was successfully discharged. Both mom and teachers agree that Maddie’s behavior has vastly improved due to her continued work in therapy. She has shown tremendous growth.
Maddie was thrilled to discover that she would get to attend ballet class every week through the after school program at PT. She makes sure to wear her favorite black dress and mary-jane style shoes on ballet day each week because according to her “they’re just like the slippers the real ballerinas wear!” She comes to school every Thursday morning with her hair already in a ballerina bun in anticipation of class that afternoon, and insists her teachers tie it up for her if she forgets.
Derek is an incredibly inquisitive and creative little boy. He loves making comics, paper crafts, clay figures and big paintings. He recently told his teacher that he would like to be an artist when he grows up because he “knows a lot about these kinds of things.” The classroom environment at PT has helped his confidence skyrocket, and he has blossomed in our arts program.
While her children were beginning to thrive at school, Claire was working hard with her case manager to make a better life for her family. She engaged in her own therapeutic services with our neighbors at NorthCare and ReMerge. She attended PT parent support groups, progress conferences for her children, and was fully invested in every meeting she had with her case manager.
During her time with us, Claire has completed several parenting classes including Circle of Security, Whole Brained Child and Parenting with Love and Logic. She earned certificates for each. She graduated from the ReMerge program in October of 2020 and her criminal charges were dismissed at that time. Our shared courtyard with ReMerge situated conveniently outside of our “collaboration corridor” made it easy for Claire to be present and engaged in her children’s education while she worked through the diversion program there each day.
After gaining steadiness and independence in her own life, Claire has given her time to help other families experiencing homelessness. She has volunteered in our Family Support Department and plays a regular role in the PT parent support groups. She obtained her peer recovery support specialist certification, and is currently taking college classes to earn her Associates degree in Science for Alcohol and Addition counseling. She’s also completing a work study program. Claire eventually wants to use her degree and life experience to help others in her situation and give people the hope that they can do it too.
From the moment we met Claire, she has been determined to transform her life. With a toddler on each hip, she has put in the work to overcome homelessness. Claire has maintained sobriety for over 2 years. She has successfully completed her transitional housing program and recently secured a more permanent housing situation for her family with guidance and support from her PT case manager.
*names have been changed for client privacy.