Daljit Kaur and her husband, Karamjit Singh, immigrated to the United States from Punjab, India to give their children, Ekampreet-14, Sukhpreet-10 and Simarpreet-4 a better life and future. They found many challenges in moving into the Delhi Township community, including their immigration status, the language barrier, and lack of job opportunities. They were also concerned about their youngest son, Simarpreet, who was having difficulties with his speech and social skills.
Daljit and Karamjit, who spoke Punjabi and Hindi, found out about Santa Maria through a flyer that was posted at their job site featuring Santa Maria’s free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Francesca Phillis, a Bilingual Office Coordinator at Santa Maria, worked with the family. “I first met Daljit and her husband, Karamjit in our ESL Program. My first impression of the family was that they were so positive and optimistic and always ready to learn something new.” Daljit found great value in the ESL Program because it allowed the family to attend English classes without worrying about childcare, as childcare is provided by Santa Maria for children whose families attend ESL classes. Since graduating from the ESL Program, Daljit and Karamjit have participated in a variety of other Santa Maria programs including Promoting Our Preschoolers, and financial coaching.
After getting to know the family better, Francesca enrolled them as participants in Santa Maria’s Family Centered Leadership Team’s research database as a family with a concentrated effort on goal setting and tracking. This project is a forward-thinking effort/cohort aimed at reducing the effect of Ohio’s child welfare crisis by setting goals with the families and focusing on certain aspects such as families’ housing, child and adult education, and budgeting. This initiative is supported by Santa Maria’s community-based team with a goal to help a small cohort (around 80 families) to transition from crisis to career. This group also facilitates smoother transitions across all of the programs at Santa Maria along with more focused case management. Through the Wellness team, the couple was connected to Legal Aid to help them with their immigration case.
Daljit and Simarpreet also participated in the Promoting our Preschoolers (POP) program. POP is a family-focused kindergarten-readiness program that works collaboratively with families, schools, and the community through home visitation. The home visits include developmental screens, advocacy, parent support and education, and referrals for children and their families. Daljit found the POP program invaluable, because the family was able to obtain resources and support that helped Simarpreet develop his speech skills.
Regine Gordon, Santa Maria Family Advocate and Group Facilitator, began working with Daljit in August 2019. “Her family has been a joy to work with!” Regine said, “Although Daljit had some developmental concerns with Simarpreet, she was extremely eager to engage with me, follow through on testing, and is already seeing results. Simarpreet is enjoying his new preschool program and is always eager to participate in activities on my home visits. This family has a bright future!”
Daljit and Karamjit recently started financial coaching through Santa Maria’s Financial Opportunity Center. Santa Maria offers free financial education, coaching, and tools to help individuals reach their financial goals. Services are available to assist participants to make educated decisions regarding finances so they can increase net income, credit, and net worth.
Daljit said that Santa Maria has improved her life in many ways. Daljit and Karamjit have not only honed their English language abilities, but they were also able to find Simarpreet a school that accommodated his needs. Daljit was very pleased that Simarpreet was able to participate in fun programs that were sponsored by the Most Valuable Kids through Santa Maria’s POP program. They have helped him develop new social skills that he can put to good use in school.
Daljit and Karamjit’s goal is to give their children a brighter future and better education. Daljit would also like to use Santa Maria’s help to get her High School Equivalency diploma so she can go to school to become a pre-school teacher and eventually own her own house.
“This family has taught me so much about the importance of family since they are so close-knit and they taught me to always remain positive,” Francesca said. “Their hard work and dedication are inspirational, and I can’t wait to see all that they will accomplish!”