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For Immediate Release

Marly's Story of Impact

Culture matters!

July 1, 2022

Marly is a Child First Clinical Supervisor with Easterseals UCP. She recently shared a memory of one of her first cases where a dad, who spoke limited English, was referred to our program. Born in Colombia, Marly could identify with the family’s culture and looked forward to helping them. 

The 5-year old daughter was demonstrating aggressive behavior caused by her parent’s separation and custody disagreements. In addition, her mom was experiencing temporary homelessness because of a hurricane and provided a lack of adult supervision.

As a result, the daughter cried easily, was jumpy and took several days to recover after returning from her mother’s house. The father was comfortable in sharing his culture and childhood experiences with Marly, who could relate with Dad just wanting to be a good father. 

During sessions, the team observed that the child and her father engaged very easily. Marly encouraged culturally-relevant exploration like cooking traditional Mexican meals together. Dad was receptive to the team’s guidance and the team also gave the daughter space to process her challenging experiences related to her parent’s separation and feelings of insecurity. 

“I remember the break through! During a session, the daughter pretended there was a monster who continually disappeared and came back. She allowed the father to capture the monster and put it in a corner. This happened several times,” Marly observed. “Then at one session, she said the monster was gone and finally allowed her dad to place it in the trash.”

Marly continued, “The way Dad delighted in his daughter was beautiful to see! He began to better understand his daughter’s feelings and how to foster a sense of security in spite of their weekly separations. After working with the Child First team, his daughter cried less and no longer required ‘warm up’ periods when she returned to her dad’s home.”

Marly further recalled how she helped the dad find toys and books written in Spanish. The Child First team also connected Dad to educational resources and legal support for help with his custody case. 

“In the end, Dad was pleased with our services, his daughter’s progress and their renewed relationship. For me, it was rewarding to hear the child say she loved school and playing with her dad. It was also great to see the child’s changes in just eight months.” said Marly. “Their family reminds me of my own family and it was really a privilege to support them. That first case continues to motivate me in working with other families.”

To learn more about our Child First services, please visit our website at eastersealsucp.com/childfirst.


Easterseals UCP is one of the largest non-profit service providers in North Carolina and Virginia dedicated to helping children, adults and families living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and mental health challenges live their best possible life. Each year, we support 20,000 families by delivering 9 million hours of direct services and a wide variety of life-changing programs in 140 different locations.

Learn more about Easterseals UCP at www.eastersealsucp.comSign up for the Easterseals UCP eNews.


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