In 2008, Sabrina and her husband Shawn were struggling. Sabrina, a stay at home mom, was pregnant. Shawn, a painting contractor, faced slowdowns that made it hard to cover their bills. They lived in a crowded townhouse and relied on food stamps to make ends meet. Two of the boys had asthma, ending up in the emergency room two or three times a year, in addition to frequent doctors visits. The boys were insured by Medicaid. Sabrina and Shawn had no health insurance.
Sabrina’s high school education limited her earning potential. Her paycheck barely covered childcare and they simply couldn’t make ends meet.
All of this was about to change.
At the new baby’s checkup, Sabrina met a CHIP Parent Educator. She was skeptical about home visiting, but wanted the best for her family. Sabrina decided to give it a try.
The family began with monthly home visits from Esther, a nationally-certified parent educator, and regular visits from a CHIP registered nurse. As Sabrina and Shawn learned about asthma management,
the boys’ doctor and ER visits were dramatically reduced.
But asthma wasn’t the only challenge. With only one income, they simply didn’t have enough to live on. Sabrina knew she had to go back to school and Esther helped devise a plan for her to take classes online and at night. Through it all, Esther kept Sabrina motivated and on track.
Shortly before Sabrina completed her associate’s degree, the family met their goals and graduated from CHIP. When Esther shared that she would be moving to pursue an advanced degree, Sabrina was disappointed, but also inspired.
She decided to apply to a four-year college herself.
While they struggled at times, with Sabrina going to school, and young children to raise, they had saved a card from Esther that said “Reach for the stars!” And so they did.
To complete her bachelor’s degree in human services, Sabrina needed a 400-hour internship. She wanted to help others as she had been helped so she applied to CHIP. She successfully completed her internship and received her bachelor’s degree in December 2011. She was then hired full time—by CHIP!
For Sabrina’s family, life looks a lot different now.
CHIP of Virginia is the statewide organization that makes this all possible, coordinating a network of seven regional CHIP programs in 27 Virginia communities. CHIP of Virginia is the linchpin for training, innovation, funding, evaluation, and accountability.