The Cruz Family Story

“It’s the care and nurturing of the staff that defines Para Los Niños,” Nelly said. “My son was able to get the extra nurturing he needed while at school and I grew as a parent during that time as well.”

Nelly Cruz found Para Los Niños (PLN) over 15 years ago while looking for a new school for her son, Jason. She felt he wasn’t getting the kind of attention he needed to be his best self in the crowded halls of the district school he attended. She immediately saw a difference at the PLN elementary school campus and appreciated the free after-school programming. She could use that time to work longer hours and provide for her family.

At the time of Jason’s enrollment, Nelly was in the process of separating with her husband. It was very hard on the Cruz family, particularly on Jason, who became depressed. Thankfully, PLN staff quickly identified his needs and set Jason up with counseling to manage his emotions and the transition at home.

A few years later, Nelly met someone, fell in love, and welcomed a second son, Kenneth. Unfortunately, the couple’s relationship quickly turned from loving to violent. The domestic violence that Kenneth saw at home started to influence his relationship with his mother. He became angry and aggressive at home and teachers noticed a change in his behavior. Para Los Niños’ integrated services model allowed Kenneth’s teachers to quickly start a plan to work with him to learn to manage his emotions. Nelly attended parenting workshops, families of domestic violence classes, and enrolled the family in case management. Nelly found the strength to take her sons and leave that situation. Today, thanks to her strong desire to provide for her family, and with the support of PLN, Nelly is in a loving relationship and sees her children on track to succeed.

“I’m most grateful for my experience with PLN,” said Nelly. “I know families with similar experiences, and their kids are in trouble, or on the wrong path. If not for PLN, my sons would not be where they are today.”

The Cruz Family story is just one example of the incredible impact Para Los Niños has on thousands of families each year.

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