Stories of Hope is an ongoing series from Edgewood highlighting our work and the lives changed for those young people able to engage with our services.
*Mavis Martin was a proud mother of three grown daughters. But her youngest, *Tonya, suffered from severe schizophrenia that would change Mavis’ life forever.
Tonya became the victim of sexual assault, which left her not only traumatized but pregnant. Tonya had a boy she named Jamal, but it was apparent to Ms. Martin that Tonya, who struggled to manage her mental health, wasn’t properly caring for her child. One day after babysitting a visibly disturbed Jamal, Ms. Martin refused to let Tonya take him home. Ms. Martin and Jamal lived with the constant fear that Tonya would force her mother to return her grandson to an unsafe home. Jamal had trouble sleeping through the night because of intense nightmares caused by this fear.
Also, like many kinship caregivers, Ms. Martin was isolated and didn’t know who to trust in her community.
Then one day a social worker who attended the same church as the Martins passed along a phone number that changed everything, 1-800-KIN-0047. This toll-free number connected Ms. Martin with the California Kinship Navigator program. Navigators are available 10 hours a day, seven days a week and are all current or previous kinship caregivers with a world of knowledge and experience.
Ms. Martin’s Navigator connected her with financial aid for which she wasn’t aware she qualified and found a subsidized daycare to enroll Jamal in. Finally surrounded by children his own age, Jamal flourished. He especially took to arts and crafts. With the Navigator’s help, Tonya was able to treat her schizophrenia and reconnect with her son and mother. Edgewood Kinship Navigator is a formula that works. In the words of Ms. Martin, “with other programs it always felt like there was something missing, but with Edgewood this gap was filled in. Our family became whole again.”
*indicates name has been changed