Melinda Harris-Bryant has known her share of loss. From the loss of her father, her home to fire, to the most difficult of losses – a child. Keeping track of her children’s attendance at school was not high up on her list of priorities. There were days when she didn’t know where to turn for help. That changed three years ago when Melinda received a phone call from Catholic Charities and the Show Up, Stand Out program after her children had been reported truant from school.
Since then, Melinda has been working with Johnetta Mosley, her SUSO case manager, and it has made a difference for her whole family. Melinda always wanted to ensure that her children received a good education and, with help from Johnetta, she has been able to do just that.
Johnetta helped Melinda get mental health counseling, arranged the logistics and costs of getting her children to school on time, and found temporary housing for the family through SUSO and Catholic Charities. She even helped with getting Melinda’s children uniforms for school. This connection to much needed services was vital to getting the entire Harris-Bryant family on the right track.
Shortly after Melinda started getting help from Johnetta and Catholic Charities, she wanted to get her daughter an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at school. Johnetta facilitated the meetings with the school and was able to assist in getting the education program for Melinda’s daughter, making sure that the child’s needs were met so she had the proper supports to thrive in school.
With strength and faith, Melinda continues to work with Johnetta every day to overcome the personal challenges that affect her children. She is now strong, healthy and stable, and can in turn provide her children with what they need to get to school and succeed both in and outside of the classroom. She just recently received her own college degree, and Johnetta was there for her at graduation.
From working with SUSO, Melinda learned about the importance of building a strong support system for her family and the benefit of having an advocate when working with a school administration or other agencies.
If you find yourself having trouble with getting your children to school, resources are available to help you. For more information about programs offered through SUSO, visit www.showupstandout.org.