This is the story of Kayla* and her Friend ReAndra.
Meet Kayla* and her Friend, ReAndra! In the update below, ReAndra recounts the two years she has been a Friend to Kayla, a vibrant young girl who is as colorful as the pictures she likes to draw. ReAndra has remained steadfast and persistent as an anchor of support for Kayla and her mother, which you will come to learn as you continue reading. ReAndra writes:
Kayla is six years old and she is in kindergarten. When I first met her, she had recently experienced a dramatic change in her living situation. A lot of our outings in the beginning centered around building our relationship but also working on her social and emotional health. She often did not want to go to school, and when she was upset, she would use tantrums or concerning language to express herself. Unfortunately, Kayla's attendance had a negative impact on her schooling. As a result, she wasn't ready to move on to the next grade. Making the decision for Kayla to repeat a year of school wasn't easy. But it showed great strength on her mom's part because she recognized that Kayla was not ready to move on and needed additional support in school in order to succeed.
When the new school year started, we were in the middle of the pandemic. Kayla's mom was having a hard time getting her to log on for class or keeping her on a schedule. After multiple conversations with me and the school, her mom got to a point where she felt ready to support Kayla academically at home and she expressed what she needed from me to help her do that. Kayla is currently still slightly behind grade level, but her teacher and I communicate well and we have seen so much growth in her academically and emotionally.
Kayla is now doing a better job of expressing how she is feeling and she is excited about learning. Now that she can attend class in person and I can be there with her, she has grown more excited about school. My relationship with Kayla's caregiver has also gotten stronger. We work as partners to achieve Kayla's goals.
The road to get to this point in my relationship with Kayla and her mom has been long, but ultimately one that I wouldn't change. I am excited for what's to come in Kayla's future, and look forward to walking alongside her, her mom, her teachers, and all those who support Kayla and wish her nothing but a bright future ahead.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.