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I AM Progress:

Lucia Cohen

When Lucia Cohen learned she was pregnant with her third child, she knew she would need help with resources. So when she heard about the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at Community Progress Council, she was curious — but not sure.

“At first, I thought, ‘This is another program where I need to respond to their questions,’” said Lucia. “It was overwhelming.”

Through CPC WIC’s location in York City, Lucia connected with diapers and formula for her son. As she shared more about the challenges she was facing, her nutritionist referred her to a Resource Navigator at CPC, someone dedicated to asking more questions about her needs, goals, and dreams for herself and her family.

The Resource Navigator connected Lucia with a bilingual Progress Coach who could work one-on-one with her to create stability in several areas: Housing, employment, and the language barrier. Lucia breathed a sigh of relief.

 “I thought, ‘Oh wow, this is real.’ CPC can help with several things,” she said.

Lucia and her husband were unable to work during COVID-19. Her coach connected her with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for support with her rent and utilities. With these areas covered, Lucia focused on building a small savings to weather the continued impact of the coronavirus.

But Lucia’s eyes were always toward something bigger. Lucia dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur and establishing an in-home child care business.

Her perseverance is paying off.

Encouraged by her coach, Lucia enrolled in “Getting Ahead in A Just-Gettin’-By World,” or “Hacia Adelante,” a multi-week course offering in English and Spanish that empowers participants to examine their situations and create a plan for making progress toward their goals.

“I thought I knew everything,” Lucia said, laughing. “But I learned more from the people in the class, all from different cultures. Now I know how to prioritize, how to go outside my comfort zone, how to keep looking forward. It is a relief for my family.”

Parenting classes offered through Community Progress Council equipped Lucia with techniques to provide a better education for her son and the children she hoped to care for in her in-home program. And in June, Lucia began the licensing process for her own in-home child care business.

“It’s special to have received this certificate,” Lucia said. “My biggest goal was to have my son in a safe place. I wanted to have a source of employment and create that safe place in my home.”

Working together over nearly two years, Lucia and her coach, Adriana, have developed a strong relationship where Lucia remains in the driver’s seat.

“If I want something, I need to work to obtain that,” Lucia said. “That’s the best part of Getting Ahead [and CPC]. Other programs, they do everything for you. But the best part of progress is when you move forward. Adriana says, ‘I can provide you with resources, I will be here for you, but you need to move.’”

Lucia cares for four children in her in-home child care, including her son, now 18 months old. And although Lucia is celebrating her progress so far, she’s staying focused on her long-term goals.

 “Now I feel really motivated,” Lucia said. “I feel more stable, economically and emotionally. My business is growing, I can see how my son is growing. Now I see another person who has needs and I try to connect them with Community Progress Council. I would like to help others to move forward, too.”

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