Kassandra Ventura: Babies & Mothers Get A Healthy Start
By Araceli Flores Featured in BCFS’ annual magazine, together
Kassandra lives in the colonias along the Texas-Mexico border. Spanish is her first language, and although she struggled to learn English when she started school, against all odds, she passed her classes and made it to high school.
Kassandra married her high school sweetheart, and soon after she was expecting her first child. Elated by the news, Kassandra and her husband welcomed their baby boy nine months later. With a newborn bundle of joy at home —and all the questions and uncertainty of a first-time mom — she joined the BCFS Health and Human Services Healthy Start Laredo (HSL) program.
Healthy Start is a nationally recognized program of BCFS Health and Human Services that provides medical care and case management for women who are pregnant or raising a child under the age of two for the purpose of reducing infant mortality, preventing child abuse and assisting families in meeting basic health needs (nutrition, housing and psychosocial support).
“There was a time when I felt like just staying at home with my baby, and school was not a priority. Healthy Start helped me determine what was important for my future and family. Thanks to my BCFS case manager, Erika Garcia, I have come to realize that even though life is not easy, I am able to overcome the challenges and be a successful mother, wife, student, and a future nurse!” —KASSANDRA
BCFS conducted home visits with Kassandra to provide one-on-one parenting classes facilitated by a case manager, including lessons on how to properly nurture infants and care for them as they grow into toddlers and preschoolers. In addition, BCFS connected Kassandra to group parenting classes and community services for medical care, housing, and food assistance. Through counseling, parenting education and the guidance of her case manager, Kassandra set short-term and long-term goals for the health and stability of her growing family.