Netra Brown has always had a passion for encouraging women. “Women are extraordinary creatures with too many hats to wear. Sometimes they just need the validation of someone else saying I’ve been there and done that and made it through.” Netra’s work as a Healthy Families Home Visitor gives her the opportunity to walk alongside mothers of young children and be that encouragement. In December Netra will celebrate her ten-year anniversary with Healthy Families.
Prior to joining CAPS, Netra had a successful career in insurance sales, until a knee injury sidelined her. “I’ve always had a passion for children as well, particularly those who need an advocate. I took a job at the Madison Center as a mental health tech, working with kids with sent by their school to the day program because of their behavioral problems. I saw them as broken arrows, kids who’d lost their direction.” While working at the Madison Center, Netra decided to go back to school for a degree in Human Services. While working on her degree, she did an internship with CAPS and was encouraged by her supervisor to apply for a job. Netra applied, was hired, and obtained her degree.
Netra admits that the job presents challenges. “You make plans for your home visit, and you get there and everything you had planned gets cancelled by what happened in the family yesterday or even an hour ago. But it teaches you how to be open and approachable so families know that there’s nothing they can’t share with you. You’re not always ready for what gets shared, but you roll with it and work with them to find a resource to address their particular situation.”
When asked about her longevity with Healthy Families, Netra recounts a family she’s been with since the birth of their child four years ago. “This child was born with a hole in his heart requiring open heart surgery when he was an infant. I had no idea what to do with them.” Many of the activities a home visitor would normally do with a family, like promoting tummy time, were not possible due to the baby’s physical limitations. Netra persevered, offering support and encouragement, as well as helping the family find resources for assistance. That child and his mom will graduate from the program later this year when he turns five. “That’s why I stay with Healthy Families – to see his progress and his mom’s progress. This is the best job and the hardest job all at once. But seeing parents mastering techniques like interpreting their child’s cues to know what they need – that’s so rewarding. I’m their biggest fan, and I want to encourage them that they’re doing what it takes to become good parents.”
“I love connecting with families and presenting them some hope. Sometimes that’s just what they need – a little help that equals hope.”
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