2011 Imagine Awards Honoree Rosario Gutierrez
Rosario was just 14 years old when she discovered she was pregnant. She began her partnership with her CHiP team when her daughter was two, and she was juggling child-care along with high school classes and band practice. Together, Rosario and her CHiP team worked on parenting skills and strategies, and Rosario learned how to effectively use appropriate medical and wellness care for herself and her daughter.
When Rosario and her mother struggled over their roles in caring for the baby, CHiP connected them to the Charlottesville League of Therapists, where the two women were able to learn constructive strategies for handling their conflicts. Meanwhile, Rosario’s CHiP team reinforced her emerging parenting skills by showing her ways to foster her daughter’s development, be emotionally nurturing, and set consistent boundaries.
Rosario graduated high school in 2010 with grades that made it possible for her to pursue a college degree. Impressed with her determination, a high school guidance counselor found a private sponsor for her post-high school education. Now, at 20, Rosario is working at a local day care center, is attending classes at PVCC, and is making plans to transfer to UVA’s four-year professional nursing program. She is starting to look for an apartment of her own, realizing it is time for her and her daughter (now nearly 5) to have their “own place.”
Thinking back on her life so far, Rosario feels that although it was enormously difficult to both have a child and finish high school, it has given her a tremendous sense of accomplishment. “I realized that if I could meet the needs of a child, I must be worth something,” she says.