After father's deportation, Detroit family finds emotional relief at community impact network

Community resources like MiSide in Detroit give families in need a chance to thrive through physical and emotional support.

Children like 10-year-old Edgar and 11-year-old Maya, of southwest Detroit, have been learning how to cope with the deportation of their father at MiSide – a community impact network that helps with all sides of life. Two major Detroit non-profits, Southwest Solutions and Development Centers, came together to form the new organization. 

After his father was deported to Mexico, Edgar began "fighting more," he said. "I was getting more anger issues." 

The deportation of a loved one is a traumatic life event for anyone, especially a child.

"That made me really sad because I really liked my dad and now he's not calling me anymore," Edgar said. "I really was sad once he missed my birthday, and he didn't call me." 

To their benefit, Edgar and Maya's mom became aware of MiSide, which serves nearly 25,000 clients across Detroit and Wayne County. 

The non-profit's goal is to ensure families have access to healthcare, education, comfortable housing, and the financial resources they need to build a life they desire.

"Individuals are multi-dementional and so are their problems," said MiSide President and CEO Sean Defour. "So they may come to us for one need, but the truth is they often have several – and for us to really make a difference in people's lives we need to be able to address every side of life that they're stuggling with, and that's what we do at MiSide."

Maya and Edgar are processing their sadness, anger, and grief through extensive work with counselors at MiSide's certified community behavioral health clinic.    

"My therapists showed me techniques to calm down," Edgar said. 

Some of the behavioral strategies they have been taught include breathing techniques for anger and anxiety management.

Maya said she went from feeling "scared, sad, and worried," to "more relieved, more happy and more normal."


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To assist those with unmet behavioral needs, MiSide not only offers out-patient behavioral health therapy – but also psychiatry, primary physical health care, and social resources.

"We have seen a significant increase in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, particularly among young children," Defour said.  "As parents we don't have all the answers and our kids don't come with instruction manuals, so when our kids are struggling, it's important to get outside help."

MiSide's programs are free and available to individuals and families in metro Detroit – mainly in Wayne County. If you need assistance or would like to donate, click here for more information.