Fifteen years ago, Tania was a student in Breakthrough’s afterschool program. She and her sister came to Bible study, they played soccer with their Breakthrough friends, and they were involved in as much as Breakthrough had to offer at the time.

Lisa Gwin, who still works at Breakthrough as its Director of Early Childhood Education, remembers it vividly.

“We had a very close relationship with her grandmother, who raised Tania and her sister,” Lisa remembers. Over the years, Lisa kept in touch with Tania and when she recently had children of her own who were ready for preschool, Tania wanted them to come to Breakthrough.

“Her relationship with us goes so deep, and it’s always been easy to feel like we’re a part of her family,” Lisa said.

Tania’s son was enrolled in the Breakthrough Beginners program for two years before he graduated, but it wasn’t an easy road. In the beginning, he needed significant support for sensory challenges that made it diffucult for him to pay attention or sit still. To foster his progress, Breakthrough provided Tania and her son with strategies to help him “self-regulate,” and learn on his own how to process and overcome challenges.

“We saw huge success in his personal and academic growth,” Lisa said.

His test scores reaffirm that. Tania’s son graduated from the Breakthrough Beginners in the 81st percentile.

Parent partnership is a big part of the child’s success and Breakthrough’s model.  “Tania was very involved,” Lisa said. “She met with us regularly and consulted us whenever she had additional struggles.”

When asked what Tania was like when she was younger, Lisa burst out laughing.

“She was a committed, dedicated little girl, but as a child she was very determined. She had a strong will, and sometimes maybe a little stubborn — but that’s served her well as a mother. She cares deeply for her children and she’ll do anything to see they get the best opportunities.”

Now, just like his mom, Tania’s son is part of the Breakthrough afterschool program.

“The blessed thing about Breakthrough is we have continuous support,” Lisa said. “It’s a big jump for kids to go from preschool to kindergarten, and we were able to be there for that transition, and we’re still with him now.”

Tania wrote, in a thank-you text to Lisa, “The Breakthrough Beginners program has had a strong impact on my child’s education, social experience and self-growth.”

Tania’s daughter, her second child, will enroll in the Breakthrough Beginners this year.

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