TraNeicia is a strong, optimistic, loving mother of two– DaNae, 8, and JaMir, 5. When she had DaNae, there were complications during the birthing process that resulted in her daughter suffering from brain damage and hearing loss.
“As a new mom at 19 years old, I was confused, scared, and didn’t know where to turn,” TraNeicia said. “Thankfully, we had the support of my family and amazing programs throughout the traumatic process.”
When the family left the hospital, support continued through home visiting, where a team of specialists including an audiologist, speech development specialist, and physical therapist worked with DaNae to assist in her development.
Once TraNeicia went back to work, DaNae’s care took up nearly her entire paycheck. It was important to TraNeicia that her daughter was able to attend a high quality early childhood program, so she applied for an early learning scholarship. When TraNeicia found out her family received it, she was overjoyed.
“It definitely took a huge financial burden off my shoulders when I received the scholarship,” TraNeicia said. “I had to make sure DaNae was ready for kindergarten.”
Because of the support DaNae received, she grew into a happy, social girl who is now flourishing in second grade at a French immersion school.
TraNeicia was so inspired by her daughter’s success she became a parent advocate for early childhood education, working with Greater Twin Cities United Way and MinneMinds to share her story and testifying before the Minnesota state legislature.
“I felt as lawmakers and professionals were sharing their views, there was a critical voice missing- voices of parents like me,” she said.
“TraNeicia is brave, determined, and bold– when you have a parent with lived experience champion for legislative action, it changes the discussion,” said Kristen Rosenberger, Senior Advocacy Manager at Greater Twin Cities United Way. “TraNeicia was helped by the very programs United Way is actively advocating for- home visiting and scholarships.”
“DaNae’s start to life gives me strength every day and I am thankful for the support we received,” said TraNeicia. “However, many families are still in need, so we’ve got work to do.”
For more information about our work, events, advocacy, giving opportunities, and more, sign up for Greater Twin Cities United Way’s newsletter under the “Stay Connected” blue bar below.