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2017 Community Mini-Grant Projects
TEAM for West Virginia Children has awarded 2017 Strengthening Families West Virginia Mini-Grants to five innovative community-based initiatives to improve family well-being and healthy child development, incorporating the Strengthening FamiliesTM Protective Factors Framework.
- “Resiliency in Action”
United Way Family Resource Network, Monongalia County
This initiative supported parents in part by helping to build decision-making and leadership skills. The United Way FRN teamed up with the Adult Learning Center at Mon County Technical Education Center, parents and community social service agencies to increase the number of settings that nurture parental resiliency and other Protective Factors. Twenty-five families were selected and offered incentives for taking part in a series of activities in a fun, relaxed and strength-based setting that combined Protective Factor growth with job preparation and search skills, career readiness, child care options, budgeting and work-family balance strategies.
- “CIRCLE Project”
Playmates Preschool & Child Development Center of Ceredo, Wayne County
The “Circle for Improving Resilience of parents and Community program support by Listening and Engaging” initiative was built upon an existing Protective Factors focus at Playmates CDC’s eight locations. A team of Ceredo center staff and parents assessed and identified areas to achieve the greatest benefits for families and their young children. Strategies focused on each of the protective factors, including more inviting family space, family learning opportunities, free family game nights, and establishment of a permanent parent support group program. The project also expanded community capacity to build Protective Factors in other early childhood programs by offering free best practice staff workshops in Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support, Parent and Child Resiliency, and related topics.
- “Love & Logic Parenting”
Wellspring Family Services, Brooke & Hancock Counties
Crittenton Programs, Inc. DBA Wellspring Family Services provided trauma-informed, community-based behavioral health services to adolescents and young adults, most under 21 years of age. A number of young people served are themselves parents of young children. The Love & Logic project was a pilot to bring the Love & Logic curriculum, free of charge, to parents of young children in Brooke and Hancock Counties. Using an approach that supports the Protective Factors of parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development and social/emotional competence (with curriculum materials acquired through another funding source), Wellspring used Strengthening Families funds, and drew on maximum parent input, to provide a family-friendly, supportive environment that increased skills and connections and improved outcomes for young parents served, and their children.
- “Love Me First Project”
Early Head Start/Southwestern Community Action Council, Lincoln & Wayne Counties
This innovative rural outreach project grew from the words of a West Virginia parent in recovery from opiate addiction: “I have to love me first to change and be a better parent. I’ve been clean for three months but if I don’t love me I can’t stay clean.” Since many rural families are impacted in some way by West Virginia’s addiction epidemic, and often do not have the social connections and the resilience to seek support, this project focused on developing trusting, caring relationships with parents through home visits, learning opportunities, family support, engagement and resources to connect parents with, and built knowledge of, the key protective factors.
- “Supporting Families, Connecting Communities”
Huntington Housing Authority Family Resource Center & Mountain State Healthy Families, Cabell County
“Summers on the Terrace” evening events provided a prime environment both for preventing summer learning loss, and built social connections between parents and children, among families and with the larger community. In an urban public housing community where parents expressed that they wish the community provided more opportunities to gather in safe and positive environments, Strengthening Families funds enabled staff and community partners to intentionally incorporate and reinforce the five Protective Factors into summer activities. In addition, the project team collaborated on introducing Protective Factors through the Cabell County Community Baby Shower, a free community event geared towards expectant parents and infant care. The Community Baby Shower engaged with more than 30 local partners and at least 150 participants, providing education on a variety of health, safety, and child development topics, connecting families to community resources, and giving parents an opportunity to socialize and connect with other families.
Project Launch Initiative on Charleston’s West Side
Through coordination with the West Virginia Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and a strong local Kanawha County – West Side Child Wellness Improvement Council, West Virginia received a federal Project Launch grant to promote the physical, emotional, cognitive, social and behavioral well-being of children ages zero to eight and their families. Through a pilot process within Kanawha County, West Virginia will expand and enhance evidence-based services through a multi-tiered approach that includes implementing a Strengthening Families framework for early childhood educators, parents and local community stakeholders.
According to the National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Pevention, Project LAUNCH seeks to improve outcomes at the individual, family, and community levels by addressing risk factors that can lead to negative outcomes. Project LAUNCH promotes protective factors that support resilience and healthy development, which can protect individuals from later problems.