Sixteen-year-old Ruby was living on the streets in Las Vegas with her mom. Luckily, her Pasadena grandma learned of her awful plight and rescued Ruby.
With food, shelter and safety now in place Grandma began assessing a myriad of needs and challenges she faced with Ruby.
She got Ruby enrolled in high school and stopped by Young & Healthy for additional services. The team quickly replaced her glasses that had been lost in the shuffle. A bit more difficult (but not impossible) is getting Ruby’s Nevada-based public insurance to California’s Medi-Cal. Can you imagine the miles of red tape they will encounter dealing with two different states? Our Young & Healthy team is on it and won’t let go of the challenge until it’s complete.
In the meantime, Ruby has been quite traumatized by her last year on the streets and Young & Healthy will find her the therapeutic support she needs.
When the phone rings and a Young & Healthy voice says “Can I help you?”, we really mean it!
The ingenuity at work…
A mom and her teenage daughter came to our office not long ago. Fifteen-year-old Jackie was having a lot of trouble at school. It seems she could not read the print in her text books and was even having trouble seeing the whiteboard in her classrooms. Jackie seemed embarrassed but her mom asked for help: could we help with new glasses for Jackie? “Of course“, I said, but not before she whipped out her home remedy that Jackie had been using for several weeks. Mom came up with a “solution” that showed incredible ingenuity. She had bought the strongest strength glasses she could find at the 99 cent store, and then super glued an old pair of contact lenses on top of them. VOiLA! Jackie could see a little better. Wow—this mom was so smart and came up with something I would never have come up with in a million years…then again I never had to. Every day, I am impressed with the families we serve and REALLY HAPPY we could provide Jackie with an eye doctor appointment and a pair of glasses a bit less embarrassing for a darling teenager.
I happened to be waiting for a meeting in the reception area of an emergency room the other day when a young mother approached the triage desk with her glassy–eyed blankie–clutching adorable daughter in tow.
She had that “my child is sick and I don’t know what to do” tone in her voice. We hear that tone hundreds of times at Young & Healthy. She asked the triage nurse if this would be considered “an emergency” and would her Medi-Cal cover the visit. She lived around the corner and her doctor was 20 miles away. She just wanted her child to be better. The triage nurse kindly and gently told her they would be happy to see her child but did not know what her Medi-Cal covered. She walked away clearly unsure of what to do next.
Having heard, I asked if I could help, and asked what kind of Medi-Cal she had. She didn’t know. On the spot, I connected her with our case manager, who looked up her Medi-Cal number and could tell her more about the coverage her daughter had.
We just empowered the mom with information and she was able to do the rest.
So much will change in 2014 when more people will have access to health insurance–but having insurance does not necessarily mean you will understand how to use it.
Young & Healthy will be there to be both a safety net and a bridge to care.
Adriane grew up hearing many stories about her Depression-era grandmother. One such story involved a fence, a bowl of soup and some dignity. Unemployed men would knock on her Nana’s door offering to do odd jobs in exchange for a meal. Nana had a fence that needed fixing. The fence was mended, a bowl of soup and bread were offered and then gratefully consumed. When the man was out of sight and well down the street, Nana went to the yard and kicked in the fence again. And the story was replayed over and over with another knock on the door, another man to feed and another bowl of soup. Now as a parent herself, Adriane and her husband wanted to model the tandem ideals of charity AND dignity for their daughter. They decided to include a Tzedakah box in their home. Drawing upon traditions grounded in her Jewish roots, Adriane’s family has been using the Tzedakah box since Anna was a young child. When the box is full, they decide on where to make a charitable gift. They do this several times a year. As Anna grew older, she became part of the decision making, too. Last month after having done a bit of community research, Adriane, Mark and Anna agreed to donate the Tzedakah money to Young & Healthy. We are honored their family would choose Young & Healthy to extend their reach of charity and dignity. Gifts come to Young & Healthy in so many forms–but this is our first Tzedakah box donation. (Google it, it’s pretty cool!)
I am always amazed (and impressed) by the kids who, in spite of the odds against them, rise up and face each day with optimism.
You’ve all seen a little one with a patch on one eye. Patrick needed one when he was little, but he lacked access to health care and now he has very limited vision in one eye.
At 17, he (yes HE) developed a breast mass. Imagine having Young & Healthy send you to a BREAST CENTER for diagnostic work. With all the grace in the world, he showed up, had a mammogram and luckily found out he DID NOT have cancer.
Oh–did I mention, his mom has cancer and can rarely leave the house.
So, what does Patrick when he needs to pick up the medication to shrink the breast mass? He rides his skate board several miles to one of our volunteer pharmacies of course!
This young man has something we all want–persistent optimism! It is an honor to know him!