My name is Alyssa, and I am a Parent Educator and Referral Expert with the Jumpstart home visiting program at Easterseals Joliet Region, Inc. Before I started working with Jumpstart, I worked with another home visiting program in Central Illinois called Stepping Stones. My families consisted of pregnant and parenting teens who were in the foster care system. Joining the Jumpstart team, I began to broaden my horizon and work with families that not only consisted of young parents, but older parents, blended families, foster parents, single parents; the list goes on. When I moved to the Chicagoland area, my heart was so full seeing the amount of families who want to work on their parenting and welcomed me into their home.
Being a home visitor with some prior experience has helped me tremendously though! I understand the chaos of everyday life and can work with my families to best serve their needs. Some families love mornings for their visits, while others have no choice but to meet in the evenings due to their work or school schedules. I also have experience working with outside resources and making referrals. I am comfortable with the screenings we administer through Jumpstart and am able to guide a parent in completing certain activities with their children.
One thing that has been hard getting used to is the Joliet area. I am terrible with directions to begin with and working in a location I am unfamiliar with has proven to be the greatest challenge. Thank goodness for Google Maps! Despite me constantly getting lost, I love being part of the Jumpstart family. Every Parent Educator has something to bring to the table, whether it is new craft ideas or a fun field trip to go on with our families. One thing we all have in common is that we always put our families first. We are not only here to educate parents on child development but also guide them in understanding their own parenting development. I am looking forward to meeting more families and getting to know all about you and your little ones!