The Russo family has lived in Westminster for over 14 years where they are raising their three children ages 12, 11, and 4. To support their family, the mother, Sarah, and the father, Jacob, both work full time; Sarah as a babysitter and Jacob as a construction worker. Four years ago Sarah and Johnny, her youngest child, enrolled in the Parents as Teachers program when Johnny was just 16 months old.  When Sarah began the program, she shared that their family was able to meet their family’s basic needs and never mentioned struggling with the cost of living. In 2018 year during a personal visit, Sarah shared that because of the increased cost of living in Colorado, her family found themselves prioritizing food and shelter over receiving adequate healthcare.

Jacob has suffered from an eye condition since childhood that has left him without vision in one eye. The lack of vision did not hinder his ability to work but it instead resulted in the growth of callouses around his eye lid and over the surface of the eye. His condition caused him severe pain, which began to affect his ability to spend quality time with his family. This left Sarah to single-handedly carry the responsibility of caring for her children. One day during a PAT visit, Sarah shared with her parent educator, Liz, that she was feeling concerned how the pain her husband was enduring was affecting their family dynamics. Sarah was devastated that she could not help her husband and she worried that her children would soon resent their father for not spending time with them. Sarah also shared that her husband had began to miss work because he was not able to tolerate the pain from the aesthetic contact that he wore to deter people from staring at his eye. Jacob had already been to an optician who referred him to an ophthalmologist where Jacob was quoted a surgery with a minimal cost of fifty thousand dollars. Jacob nor Sarah have medical insurance and fifty thousand dollars was not something they could afford to pay out of pocket. Both parents depend on a discount program offered at a federally qualified clinic in the area and the surgery was not something the clinic could provide.

Hearing this, Liz began searching for low cost options and scholarships with an ophthalmologist. After spending her evenings researching, she found a location that offered scholarships to individuals without insurance who specifically needed medical services pertaining to eyes. At the following visit with the family, Liz made the call with mother (as language was a barrier) and they were able to schedule an appointment for Jacob. With this ophthalmologist, Jacob was able to receive the much-needed surgery for a ¼ of what he was quoted.

Thanks to the Parents As Teachers’ overall focus on family well-being, Liz was able to connect the Russo family to the services that they needed. Jacob is now spending quality time with his kids, often playing with them after work and joining them on outings. He happily attended Sarah and Johnathan’s recent graduation from the Parents as Teachers program, something he would have never done without having been connected to resources provided by Liz.