When Paths Cross
Twelve-year-old Dembelo has never walked or talked. His parents were told that he has cerebral palsy. As if that weren’t enough, Dembelo also had a seizure every day for twelve years!
Luckily, Dembelo’s family came to Pasadena from Nigeria so his father could study theology at Fuller Seminary. While their time in the United States will be short, it has changed everything.
Dembelo was recently running low on his medicine and the family found its way to Young & Healthy. For the first time ever, Dembelo had a full neurological work up, where it was discovered that he does not have cerebral palsy at all. He actually has a seizure disorder. A change in medication was prescribed and like magic, everything was different. Dembelo has not had a single seizure!
His father was so grateful and ecstatic about this miracle that he insisted on giving a gift of clothing from his country to our staff.
Young & Healthy assists one CHILD at a time and hence, changes one life at a time.
It Took A “Village”:
Last week, every single member of our referral team was on a call at the same time– for one child.
Maribella had come to apply for Medi-Cal but it quickly became evident to the staff that they were witnessing a true mental health emergency. Even without speaking to each other, they just KNEW they could not let this mother leave our office without the help she needed for her child. They flew into action.
A long history of devastating family tragedy brought them to this day, and at just 11 years old, Maribella’s child was hearing voices telling her to hurt herself.
Call: The on-site school therapist and ask for an emergency assessment of the young girl.
Call: Arrange for a next-day therapy appointment with our volunteers at Fuller Child Guidance Clinic.
Call: Our colleagues at Pacific Clinics for a complete psychiatric assessment.
Call: Medi-Cal to get them on the FAST TRACK for insurance approval.
By the time Maribella left our office two hours later, her child had been evaluated and deemed in psychological crisis, a next-day appointment at Fuller had been arranged and a follow-up appointment with Pacific Clinics had been set.
For anyone who has even dabbled in case management, achieving even one of those services in a day would be a miracle. It is a testament to both our staff and to the wonderful relationships we have with colleagues and volunteers in the community that made this possible.
This family has a long road ahead, but they are now, at least, ON THE ROAD. Young & Healthy will be there with them as they tackle these next steps.
Some days it truly does take a village–the YOUNG & HEALTHY village.
While visiting family in Mexico, 11-year-old Mario broke his arm. He was taken to a local clinic where his arm was casted. Upon returning to school, he was still in considerable pain and, of course, needed follow-up care. New x-rays determined his arm had not been re-set properly and follow-up would prove complicated. Our partners at Shriners Hospital are now on the case, evaluating his arm and providing care. His cast has been removed and little by little he is regaining mobility. He’ll be back to playing lunchtime tetherball in no time.
Michelle has more than the normal amount of anxiety for a teen. In fact, she has a serious anxiety disorder requiring daily medication and weekly therapy. Luckily, she has Medi-Cal, a form of public insurance to help her access the care she needs. However, Michelle came to Young & Healthy when she needed some dental work done, which was a little odd, since the dental arm of Medi-Cal, called Denti-Cal, should have covered that care as well. Denti-Cal told Michelle’s mom over and over that they would not cover the special sedation that this very anxious young lady needed. Try as she might to fix this situation, Mom was stymied and came to Young & Healthy for help.
Our case manager, Ana, was able to set up a three-way conference call with herself, Denti-Cal and Michelle’s mom. With one phone call, all of the roadblocks were removed and Michelle was on her way to having her dental work done with the appropriate level of sedation. Mom commented, “Ana did the impossible!”
What often seems impossible to our clients, just requires a bit of tenacity on the part of our case managers. This was a good day!
We saw it on the news…Politicians talked about it…People took sides…
But when Raul was referred to Young & Healthy, we just saw his most pressing needs. He was very scared and alone–LITERALLY. Raul was one of the many children who journeyed toward a safe haven, from Guatemala, all alone. He was traumatized, to say the least. He lives with relatives here in Pasadena and is receiving mental health services from one of our volunteer therapists. He is beginning to cope with the changes and trauma that have happened in his young life. He is enrolled in high school, making some friends and is the newest member of the football team.
Young & Healthy can’t do it all, but when one fragile child is in front of us, we fly into action–that’s who we are, taking care of one child at a time.