The Role and Need for Community

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Category: News

September 27, 2021

Families Need to Create Community

At times, community comes naturally. You build a network around the places you live and work, around your kids’ schools and your place of worship. Maybe your grandparents live down the street or you have cousins nearby. While that’s true in some cases, more often than not, the way we build and access community has shifted.

Nowadays, community often must be built more proactively. For parents of children with special healthcare needs or families that live in areas that lack access to resources, finding a network of support is more critical than ever. Oftentimes you don’t know a community exists until there’s a need and you’re thrust into something new or unexpected.

In today’s environment, connection to a community has become increasingly important in addressing whole family well-being. This network helps address disparities, increases access to health resources, and provides a more holistic and sustainable approach to improving the lives of children, parents and caregivers.

The Role of Community-Based Care

Any Baby Can has been a leader of in-home family health services in the Austin area for more than 40 years. We embed in families’ lives partially to reduce barriers, but also to increase connection and build trust. In addition to addressing a primary need—teaching a child to walk without a walker, supporting a mom through her first pregnancy, helping a parent navigate insurance for a child with cancer—we look at the whole spectrum of family wellness. That can include physical health, mental health, housing stability, food security, emotional well-being, effective schooling, and so much more, all of which are intertwined.

We’re able to look upstream and address the root cause of what is affecting a family’s ability to succeed. Therefore, we incorporate social determinants of health, trauma-informed care, and non-medical factors that influence health outcomes into our services.

Relationships Built on Trust

Families describe their Any Baby Can nurses, therapists and parent educators as part of their family: “a sister I never had” or “someone I can call no matter what.” However, our staff has the added benefit of experience. We create structure and break things down step-by-step for parents. Though a client may be going through something for the first time, we help them understand what is coming next. That alone serves an important role in building stability in an experience that may feel intimidating, or a phase of life that is unsteady.

“We create order and structure to navigate difficult systems like healthcare, government services and schools. We have relationships in the community so we can tell you to call this clinic and talk to this person. Our social workers have been involved in so many special education meetings, we know what you should expect. We’re like your sister or neighbor, and we happen to have the knowledge you need,” says Rebecca Elizondo, Senior Program Director at Any Baby Can.

Information is available. Help is available. But often the hardest part is knowing where and how to start.

Empowering Parents

While it may be a child’s developmental needs, a new diagnosis, or a high-risk pregnancy that brings families to Any Baby Can, what they find most beneficial of all is the community that they gain—both in direct interactions with our staff, but also in the ways that we actively encourage and help parents build their own community. From identifying personal networks, to connecting at respite events, Camp Grey Dove, and other group connections, Any Baby Can helps families find their people. Because when you realize that you’re not alone, you gain more than just the skills to raise children and prepare for a brighter future. Ultimately, what keeps families coming back is the relationships that they build with us and with each other.

The goal is that parents are more connected, better able to articulate needs and utilize existing resources to meet those needs, and that they have the confidence to engage as an active member of their community.

RELATED RESOURCES

We follow a whole-family approach to creating stability and addressing physical, developmental and emotional well-being

Our programs deliver stronger social, family and community bonds.

Families’ lives are increasingly connected: school and home; work and childcare; individual choices and community health.

THANKS TO OUR MISSION PARTNERS

Investments from our supporters create long-term benefits for thousands of families across Central Texas. Join us in building a community where all families and children thrive.