Unsung Hero: Katrina Miller is 'truly an inspiration'
Katrina Miller and 3-year-old Elli.
Seattle's Child is proud to once again sponsor the Unsung Heroes being honored in February by the Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington.
Every day this month we'll present an Unsung Hero.
Nominations are accepted from around the state and and include biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofit organizations; some mentor others in their communities. All honorees are true heroes: outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.
Katrina demonstrates all of the strengths described above on a regular basis.
(The traits listed on the nomination form are: ability to bounce back from stress, strong support system, understands their child's developmental needs, shows empathy and support toward child's feelings, not afraid to ask for/receive help.)
She has overcome adversity on several occasions and embraces challenges with a positive outlook. When I first met Katrina, she was a young single mother who was living with friends while looking to find a place of her own for herself and her baby.
During this time, she began to notice that her baby was slightly delayed in meeting some of her developmental milestones. She decided to seek out help and have her daughter evaluated through the ESIT program. This was the beginning of what would become a long process of medical consultations, therapy interventions, surgeries and genetic testing.
Although this was difficult for Katrina, she never let her fears keep her from pursuing her quest to find answers and meet the needs of her daughter. She also remained positive and drew on her support system of family, friends, and professionals to help her through this process. Her daughter, Elli, is now a thriving 3-year-old. She attends developmental preschool and is able to independently access her school environment using adaptive equipment. She is a happy, well-loved child who lights up every room she walks into.
Katrina has also grown significantly in her role as a young mother. Throughout her journey, Katrina has maintained a job, found a place of her own to live, and forged new friendships. She is truly an inspiration and role model for others to follow.
Nominated by Cyndy Mitby
Katrina enrolled in our Parents as Teachers home visiting program in 2016. She was recovering from substance use/addiction and completed Lewis County Drug Court. She helped inform GH County Drug Court (behind the scenes) to share her experience of what helped her to be successful and has offered to serve on an advisory board.
In addition to her recovery journey, Katrina has faced many barriers over the last few years. Due to financial and housing barriers, she has lived in six different homes in the past 2.5 years. And at 4 months old, her daughter was diagnosed with several medical and developmental conditions, which also required two separate surgeries.
I am inspired by how very resourceful Katrina is. She is an advocate for her daughter for medical appointments, therapy, school. Countless times, she asks for ideas and homework so that she can help her daughter grow, thrive and develop as much as possible. After being in the ESIT/Birth to Three program, her daughter Ellie is now enrolled in Developmental Preschool.
Even when stressed out about how they will pay for things, or trying to find the money for gas to get to medical appointments (Tacoma or Seattle), she keeps an upbeat attitude that they will "find a way and it will all work out." Katrina embodies an attitude of gratitude and giving back. She has helped the Salvation Army Christmas giveaway for the past several years and as part of her Work First/TANF participation, worked with United Way. Now off of TANF, she is working at Salvation Army, and has continued to volunteer at the United Way because she believes in their mission and vision. Her goal is to go back to school.
Nominated by: Lena Stoddard, Parent Educator, Grays Harbor County Public Health Parents as Teachers