Former Healthy Families Jacksonville participant Laurie Moore credits the program for many triumphs in the primary stages of raising her boys, including discerning developmental delays early and providing the family with much needed resources during times of the financial hardship that comes with having twins unexpectedly. Now Laurie invests her time and aids families in the program so they can receive all the opportunities she once did – and more.
After giving birth to twin baby boys as first-time parents, Laurie and her husband found themselves in shocking situation. “I signed up for Healthy Families because we were barely making ends meet,” Jessica said. “We would have probably been able to have one kid without any help, but we had a set.”
Healthy Families is a nationally-accredited family support and coaching program that helps parents provide the safe and stable environments children need for healthy growth and development. The evidence-based program is voluntary, and the participants receive the services in their home by specially-trained support workers. Healthy Families Jacksonville is an initiative of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and serves high-risk families in Duval County.
When Laurie’s family support worker, Angela, came to her home, she noticed early developmental delays in walking and babbling/talking. When the twins were two years old, Ms. Angela referred them to Early Steps, a community partner, to screen for hearing, vision and cognitive/mental issues. Laurie was then told that there was a high probability her sons were both autistic.
While in the program, they were invited to all Healthy Families events, which meant a lot because it was hard bringing her kids into public and these events gave them an outlet from seclusion.
Laurie is incredibly thankful for the Healthy Families program assessments and support as it led to early detection, referral and an official diagnosis of nonverbal autism for both boys at age four. Laurie requested that her family graduate from the Healthy Families Jacksonville program early to make room for other families in need and focus on programs that have specialized therapists to work with the twin’s development.
Laurie now works as a pharmacy technician, and her twins are ten years old. She donates Easter baskets, school supplies, Christmas toys and more to the families currently participating in Healthy Families Jacksonville because she knows what it is like to face many challenges. Laurie continues to support Healthy Families because of the dedication to identifying and mobilizing an array of community resources that enrich families.
In the video below, Laurie explains why she gives back: