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“Our entire life was destroyed,” said Alberta about the shock her family experienced discovering all was lost in their Coney Island home following Superstorm Sandy. “The first time I visited the house after the storm, I saw a photo of my daughter that had been carried by storm waters nearly halfway down the block. It broke my heart.” Like thousands of families scrambling to get back on their feet, Alberta didn’t know where to turn. Due to this unforeseen natural disaster, the family, including nine-year old twins Jose and Angie, as well as five-year old Briana, were forced to stay at a shelter.
HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services Preventive Services strengthens families by providing them with the essential resources that they need to provide a safe home to their children. Many times, an intervention might be needed to stabilize families torn apart by traumatic experiences not necessarily under their control, such as poverty, illness and natural disasters. With guidance and support from Case Planner Linda Votruba at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services Shirley Tanyhill Family Services, the family has been able to tackle the arduous journey of rebuilding their lives. From clothing donations to group therapy and parenting classes, Alberta was pointed towards many resources. HSVS therapy sessions helped Alberta recover from the traumatic experience, while parenting classes taught her situational examples of how to engage with her children, particularly when under severe emotional stress. “I’ve taught my children that a family is always there for each other,” said Alberta with tears in her eyes.