By: Pamela Preston, Director of Child Care Operations
As Director of Child Care Operations at 18 Degrees, I have had the pleasure of working closely with Trish Russo and the Youth Launch Program. The Child Care Program at 18 Degrees offers care to families of children ages infant through 13 years old. A crucial part of our work is meeting families where they are at and establishing a relationship. This relationship allows us to build a foundation of trust, enabling us to help parents make informed connections that their families can benefit from. Youth Launch is an important program that does just that.
During the Child Care enrollment process, we are able to offer resources and supports from other programs in the community and our agency. When a parent consents to learn more about Youth Launch, we connect them to Trish Russo. Trish shares a genuine and empathetic approach with our families. She is welcoming and shows deep respect for each family member. Through Youth Launch, Trish helps our parents navigate systems and overcome obstacles to obtain benefits that they are entitled. She has assisted families in obtaining snap benefits, fuel assistance, health benefits, furniture, driver’s licenses, enrollment for school, employment, and even housing. When parents are able to provide these fundamentals for their family, they can begin to focus on setting goals for the future.
Obtaining Child Care is a pivotal step for parents to secure employment. Youth Launch helps our families to meet the requirements to become eligible for a childcare subsidy. Trish continuously supports our parents and helps them to reduce stumbling blocks on their way towards an educational program or a new job opportunity. Currently, we have twelve families enrolled with Trish in the Youth Launch program.
At 18 Degrees, it is our mission, “Every child in a family. Every family in a community. Focusing on hopes and dreams helps those we serve to see that new beginnings are possible”. Trish Russo and the Youth Launch Program is a direct reflection of these values.
Youth Launch is an invaluable program that continues to have a substantial effect on our families’ lives.