Our Journey with Whole Village: A letter from Domenica Medaglia-Brown
Four and a half years ago, life threw us an unexpected curveball. Our niece, struggling with addiction, was pregnant. The father was unknown, and her baby was due to be born exposed to various substances. Despite already having our hands full with our son who is on the autism spectrum, we decided to care for the baby.
This journey led us to Whole Village Family Resource Center and their playgroup as part of the ESS services in January 2020. It was one of the few places where we felt welcomed with our two neurodivergent children. The facilitator suggested we participate in a Parenting A Second Time Around (PASTA) class.
Through PASTA, we were connected with a kinship navigator who enlightened us about the support our children were eligible for through NH Healthy Families, SNAP, WIC, and FAP cash. We were also guided through navigating the support systems in place for our son with Autism.
When our great-niece aged out of ESS, Whole Village stepped in to ensure she remained connected to the resources she required.
It wasn't long before we realized that Whole Village was our go-to whenever we were unsure of our next steps. It quickly became a pillar of support for us, both emotionally and financially. They provided us with options, helping us make sense of our situation and guiding us towards the best next steps.
When my husband lost his job due to COVID, they assisted us in applying for scholarships so he could obtain his CDL license. They even provided us with a gas card when we were short on gas money. From helping us fill out forms for free/reduced lunch at school to rent payment, their support was unwavering.
As our family's needs stabilized, we found ourselves in a position to give back. I took up volunteer work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), my husband began coaching our son's sports, and we started presenting in both graduate and undergraduate college special education classes. We seized every opportunity to advocate for the community, serving on parent panels.
While we have come a long way, we still rely on Whole Village during back-to-school and holiday times. The journey has taught us that it's okay to ask for help. We now know that no one judges us for asking for help, and we are immensely grateful for the support we have received and continue to receive from Whole Village and their amazing staff.
Domenica has been selected for the NH Children’s Trust 2024 Unsung Hero Award
Domenica advocates for Whole Village services across the Plymouth Region and has been involved in Early Supports & Services, Kinship Navigation, and sits on the regional council to provide parent impact.