Stories of Hope

Hope for the Whole Family 

Vanessa is a caring mom who wants the best for her daughter and triplet sons. When we first met Vanessa three years ago, she was unemployed and struggling with post-partum depression.  “I felt like I was in a dark place – and I’ve worked so hard to get out of it. I was ready to give up on myself and my kids,” she recently shared about her past struggles. 

By enrolling her children at our Pierce Early Education Center, Vanessa’s family was connected to a caring team that supports their family’s journey. This includes her Family Support Specialist, who walks alongside Vanessa to problem-solve, locate resources within our community, and reach her family goals.  

“Sunbeam feels like a big family,” said Vanessa. “With Sunbeam, I have a lot of support with my kids. They have my whole trust because they’ve always been there.”  

Vanessa’s sons have attended Pierce for three years and are reaching their developmental milestones. They spend every day in a nurturing classroom, where they learn and play in an engaging environment and build social connections with classmates.  

“Being a parent doesn’t come with a manual,” said Vanessa. “Every day I learn something new. [Sunbeam] gives me a lot of hope to be a better mom and a better me. I look back to 3 years ago and never imagined my children would know so much or be so kind. We’ve raised those kids – those are our kids!”  

Her daughter is soaring at the top of her class in Pre-K, thanks to the strong educational foundation she received in Early Head Start and Head Start at Pierce. 

Vanessa is applying to be a supervisor at her job, saving for a house, and going back to school. 

I have my mind set to what I want to do and it’s never too late,” she said. I’m genuinely happy. I was at the bottom and now I’m doing better than ever. I’ve learned so much. It’s all up from here.”  

Sunbeam is a leader in early childhood education and is committed to helping promote the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children like Vanessa’s. This prepares babies and toddlers for continued growth, development, and success in school and in life. We also know the importance of wraparound services to build strong families “Hope has made me a better mom and employee. I have hope on what the next step is and what my life is going to be.” – Vanessa 

Blanca’s Story

What does it mean to help children thrive? I think about Blanca’s children, two of whom attend a Sunbeam early education center.  


When we first met Blanca, her family was experiencing homelessness. Blanca is a devoted mom who wants the very best for her children. She knew she needed to find a safe and loving place for her young children so she could go back to school and achieve her career goals.  


By enrolling two of her children at Sunbeam, Blanca’s family was connected with a caring team who support them. One of those team members is a Family Support Specialist who walks alongside families to connect them with local resources, assist in goal setting, and to address any barriers. Blanca knows her Family Support Specialist is always there for her.  


“A lot of times it’s being there for families…letting them know they can ask us for anything so they can accomplish the goals they want,” shared Sierra Williams, Sunbeam Family Support Specialist. “Just having that one person that’s on your side, and knowing they can depend on you, creates stability within their family.” 


Since attending a Sunbeam early education center, Blanca’s young children spend every day in a stimulating classroom environment, time outside in a natural playground setting, and fun time with their friends.  


Blanca now has stable housing, obtained her GED, and attends a program at OSU to become a social worker and give back to the community who has helped her family.


“I want to thank Sunbeam for hearing the voice of a [once] homeless mom and making her feel like she counts,” said Blanca. “Because people support Sunbeam, my family and I have been given a second chance.”