Healthy Families Support Worker Receives Family Support Worker of the Year Award
Helping People Succeed’s Maria Velasco is the Family Support Worker of the Year for Healthy Families Florida, an evidence-based voluntary home visiting program that is proven to prevent child abuse and neglect in Florida’s highest risk families. She is one of more than 350 workers serving families in the State of Florida.
A 10-year employee at Helping People Succeed, Velasco works intensively with an average of 28-30 families each year in Martin County, which includes families from Hobe Sound and Indiantown to Jensen Beach. Many of her participants stay in the Healthy Families program for four years or more.
Areas that Velasco focuses on with families include promoting healthy parent-child relationships, modeling play activities to support typical child development, teaching positive discipline alternatives, addressing unsafe home environments, empowering women to be in healthy relationships, and encouraging participants to pursue their education.
“I really appreciate Healthy Families Florida recognizing my best efforts to be part of the positive influence that helps others decide to make changes and improve their lives,” said Velasco. “I feel this is the main idea behind our mission as Family Support Workers and my best reward.”
In statistics sent to Healthy Families Florida for the nomination, a rundown indicates that Velasco surpassed the requirements on all program outcomes, including attaining 100% in 16 of 21 categories which include ensuring infants and young children receive their immunizations and well child checks, linking both parents and children to medical providers, screening women for depression, monitoring child developmental milestones and encouraging families with increasing their self-sufficiency through obtaining higher education, better employment and more.
“Maria truly embodies the mission of the program,” said Carolyn Moses, Program Manager for Helping People Succeed’s Healthy Families program. “Healthy Families Martin-Okeechobee is fortunate beyond words to have her on our team and I can’t imagine a more worthy recipient of Family Support Worker of the Year.”
She added, “While effectively serving all cultures and ages with ease, non-judgment and excellent connection, Maria is a tireless advocate for families and is masterful at collaborating with the program’s partners and connecting people to whatever resources they need to enhance their life circumstances.”
In addition to her outstanding job performance, Velasco demonstrates other skills and attributes that have contributed to creating this high quality, strength-based Healthy Families Martin-Okeechobee program including her resourcefulness, commitment to the families she serves, collaboration with community partners, excellent relationships with co-workers and willingness to always take on additional duties. She is also a certified Infant Massage instructor, working with both English and Spanish-Speaking Families.
Healthy Families Martin-Okeechobee is funded primarily through Healthy Families Florida with additional local funding from the Children’s Services Councils of Martin and Okeechobee Counties and the United Way of Martin County.
For additional information on the Healthy Families program, please contact Carolyn Moses at Helping People Succeed at 320-0770.