Southside Center has been working with Olivia and her family for over two years on a wide range of issues that have come up. Initially, Olivia reached out to the bilingual mental health department after a Spanish-speaking nun at her church referred her to our program. Her daughter, Jasmin, was suffering from anxiety and depression and was in need of assistance from a counselor.
Our bilingual art therapist worked with Olivia and Jasmin and realized that many of Jasmin’s symptoms were a result of her worries about her immigration status in the US. At 15, and a bright honors student, Jasmin was starting to think about college but knew that her status would serve as a significant barrier to pursuing her dream of becoming an engineer.
The therapist referred the family to attorneys at our other site, Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, who helped Jasmin apply for DACA. She also connected Jasmin with resources for alternate ways to fund higher education. Jasmin’s symptoms reduced and she began to feel hopeful about her future again.
In the meantime, Olivia shared that she was desperate to move her family out of the substandard apartment where her three teenage children shared one bedroom. She said they were having a hard time getting anywhere with the big bank where they had applied for a loan. The therapist provided a referral for a Spanish-speaking loan officer at a reputed local bank. Three months later, the family was closing on their very own home where the teenage girls and boy no longer needed to share a bedroom!
Around Christmas, Olivia lost her job cleaning homes and the family’s tight budget became even tighter. The therapist referred Olivia to Southside’s case manager, who was able to provide utility assistance to keep the lights on and buy Olivia some time to find new employment.
By utilizing the wide range of available resources and expertise at both our Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry and Southside Center sites, this family has an optimistic future ahead.