Building connections with community
Kids Central, Inc.
York/Walker FamilyBuilding connections with community
Angel (back row), Austin,
Devon, and Miranda (front row)
Wanda and Daniel gradually obtained custody of their five grandchildren and a nephew over the past 18 years, after the children were removed from their homes by Florida's Department of Children and Families. From the beginning, it was a struggle. Wanda and Dan worked hard to overcome the obstacles-legal problems, money problems, and stress-to maintain their family home.
Then, in 2010, Wanda and Dan learned about the Kinship Care program offered through Kids Central, Inc., a community-based care agency with community and professional resources to support and help families in a number of ways.
An on-staff educational liaison helped the children navigate the school system and made sure they had the services they needed to succeed in school. The eldest daughter, Angel, graduated from high school and is now a full-time student at the College of Central Florida.
Kid's Central also helped the children attend camps. Two of the children went to a computer camp and received a free laptop and printer for attending and completing the classes. Four of the children went to Camp Montgomery over the summer, had a ton of fun, and want to go back next year.
Wanda and Dan faithfully attend Kid Central's continuation groups, which enrich their knowledge and have helped them accept and appreciate support from others because they know they are not alone. Wanda and Dan are always among the first caregivers to express support and empathy to other caregivers, and they love sharing resources and stories of their experiences with others.
The whole family attends weekly support groups and has become close to other families like them. They have grown to rely on the support these relationships provide and are eager to give back to the community. At every support group meeting, the children run to help the kinship case manager carry in supplies from her car. The family is always the last to leave, ensuring that the facility is clean, and the kinship case manager is in her car safely.
This is one very special family that appreciates its community's support and returns that support with love and care. The children have worked hard to succeed individually and as a family, and all are thankful to Wanda and Daniel for keeping the family together.
The kinship director, Debra Wise, and the kinship case manager were so impressed with the eldest son, John's commitment to help others and his leadership abilities that he was nominated by Kids Central, Inc. to apply for the Florida Youth Leadership Academy for 2011.