Laura Martinez (center) poses with DFPS and PCHAS staff. L-R: Jaime Masters, Sascha Rasco, Elizabeth Castaneda, Laura Martinez, Rachel Gillespie, Katy Andrews and Sarah Abrahams.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has awarded its 2023 Outstanding Parent Award to Laura Martinez, a volunteer for Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services (PCHAS). Martinez received the honor September 14 at the Partners in Prevention Conference hosted by DFPS in Corpus Christi.
A mother of three, Martinez felt that she was failing as a mom and enrolled in a PCHAS program, Growing Together, to learn about child development and family relationships. Three years later, she volunteers on the program’s parent advisory council. Her nomination stated, “Laura is an amazing mom who is really passionate about our community and connecting more parents to the support they need to thrive. She shares with parents that it’s okay to look for support with parenting. She's helping to break down barriers in the community by changing the conversation and letting people know there's no shame in asking for help.”
Martinez has rheumatoid arthritis and experienced days when she was physically unable to hold her youngest child. “She carried a lot of shame with that and was very hard on herself. Now she honors what she can do and asks for help with what she needs,” says Rachel Gillespie, Growing Together director.
The program teaches the Trust-Based Relational Intervention curriculum as well as the Circle of Security Parenting curriculum. It also hosts a monthly support group, The Parent Café, in Corsicana. Martinez has shared her parenting story with other caregivers and helped plan a program for parents on protecting children from sexual abuse.
PCHAS provides programs across three states to strengthen families and improve self-sufficiency. It is nationally accredited and holds a Platinum Seal of Approval from GuideStar as well as a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. In Navarro County it receives United Way funding. Call 800-888-1904 for more information.