Developmental Playgoups (2010-2011)
During 2008-2010, The Giving Circle of Alexandria worked with its community partners involved with playgroups. Through experience and research into playgroup styles from around the country, a modified playgroup model was developed and is now being used — with a plan for evaluation — at the three playgroups that the Giving Circle supports through its Priority Gifts.
Download the most recent information on the status and progress of the Developmental Playgroups supported by a Giving Circle of Alexandria investment.
Success by 6 / Arlandria Playgroup (2006-2007)
Since December, 2005, mothers and children have gathered weekly at St. Rita’s Church in Arlandria to build their children’s skills and strengthen the parent-child bond. This Success by Six Playgroup is implemented by Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), the Hispanic Committee of Virginia and Healthy Families Alexandria and is designed to attract mothers and children who are isolated from community services and other support systems. From July 1, 2007 though December 31, 2007, 39 parents and 56 children have benefited from attending this playgroup.
This year, Arlandria Playgroup participants told us:
- the playgroup is providing an essential beginning social environment for children and educational forum for parents
- they have an increased awareness of community resources and services through their participation in the playgroup
- their children have improved ability to interact with others and a better understanding about sharing since attending the playgroup
Arlandria Playgroup Facilitators observed that
- parents are displaying engaged behaviors such as consistently sitting with their child(ren) on the floor during circle time and actively helping their child(ren) with activities;
- parents appear to have a higher overall comfort level within the group.
Expanded Healthy Families Alexandria (HFA) (2005-2009)
The WGCA grant provides support to ten families enrolled in the Healthy Families Alexandria program. HFA Services are provided to Alexandria’s most vulnerable families with risk factors that include poverty, unemployment, single parenting, poor education, substance abuse, domestic violence, current or past history of family violence, child abuse, mental illness, unstable housing, poor health and crime. As of December 31, 2007, the WGCA provided financial support to the programfor 30 months. Of the ten initial families supported through this grant, five are still in the program and five new families are receiving services.
- Most of the families who have been in the program 30 months or more have been moved to a lower risk level which means they require a less intense level of service than when they started.
- Some of these families now have a second child who is benefiting from the program, including routine screenings for developmental delays. Also, more fathers are present for home visits when the mother is working and unavailable.
- A family on “creative outreach,” a designation assigned to families who are not actively engaged in services for one month, called after the third month to resume home visits.
- HFA continues to make referrals to the Reading Connection, SIDS and ALIVE to ensure families have the educational,
food and financial assistance they need.
Hopkins House (2007)
Hopkins House is a local not-for-profit providing education programs and services to children, youths, and their families. Through high-quality preschools, financial literacy, homeownership, parent involvement, reading and literacy, and summer enrichment programs, Hopkins House offers to children and families the skills they will need for a life time of learning.
The WGCA grant was used to support the following activities:
- Research and document best practices
- Conduct monthly workshops for parents to learn new skills
- Provide opportunities for parents to learn more about child development
- Document all program activities
- Survey participants about program impact
- Document observed changes in parents’ and children’s behavior.
- Examine market and feasibility for program replication
- Consider plan to sustain Family Education Programs for the long term.
Hopkins House Results
- More parents willing to take on leadership positions in the Parents’ Association. This past fall, 9 campaigned for office and 3 were men.
- Parents used newly gained skills to advocate successfully for changes to the preschool uniforms policy
- Hopkins House provided food and childcare as recommended through best practices research
- More effective partnerships with financial and professional organizations
- Addition of second staff member enabled research on replicating the program and deployment and testing of a second site