Festival of Children Foundation News Summer 2011 : Page 3

Summer 2011 | www.festivalofchildren.org STRONG FAMILIES BUILD STRONG COMMUNITIES When Sheri Young took custody of her two nephews in 2010, she was unaware of the positive impact that a local education program would have on all their lives. Javon, 9, and Jarell, 4, moved in over Christmas break, and were expected to start school that following January. The two brothers had experienced so many changes, both physical and emotional, in the months leading up to this transition that Sheri was concerned that they would have difficulty adjusting to their new classrooms and the school’s advanced curriculum. She dreaded the possibility that the children would fall behind in such crucial years for educational development, while trying to adjust to their new life and make friends at school. Jarell’s new kindergarten teacher introduced Sheri to Family Connections , a family support organization with a long history of partnering with local schools to increase parent involvement in promoting their children’s success in school and life. She suggested that Jarell and Javon would benefit greatly from the Play-A-Day program which seeks to build children’s literacy skills by engaging both parents and children in play-based activities. For seven weeks in the spring, Sheri and her nephews engaged in this program that allowed them to explore different elements of learning through play. Using “prop boxes” and training materials, Javon and Jarell were able to learn while acting out the roles of doctors, construction workers, restaurant waiters and more. Each weekly Play-a-Day session included a family meal, structured time with Sheri to review how play promotes learning, interactive literacy-based play time, and “circle time,” a music and movement activity. At the end of each session, Javon and Jarell got a book to take home and add to their libraries, and Sheri received a packet of take-home activities to do together with her boys. “As the mother of an adult son, I was completely starting over with Javon and Jarell and so much has changed in the way we support learning at home. I wasn’t worried that my nephews wouldn’t be able to handle the new curriculum, but I was concerned with making sure that the additional work they had to do in order to catch up with their peers wouldn’t dampen their enthusiasm for learning,” said Sheri. “Family Connections has been an invaluable resource to me in this community!” The fast adaptation to the new school environment for Javon and Jarell was truly remarkable. Jarell, the rambunctious and inquisitive kindergartener, has developed a love for reading and learning that Sheri had never seen in him before. He began recognizing bigger words, speaking beautifully, and approaching learning with greater confidence. As an older brother, Jarell helped, and continues to support Jarell in putting his new knowledge in to practice. “Javon and Jarell seem so happy in their new environment,” said Keesha Tolliver-Funches, the Play-a-Day facilitator and one of the organization’s school-based Family Liaisons. “Our program has provided them with a true sense of belonging.” Together, the boys can barely contain their excitement for the new school year to begin so they can reunite with their teachers and staff at Family Connections. Through collaborations with other local organizations geared toward early childhood and parenting education, Family Connections has increased the size and scope of their programs tremendously over the past three decades. Their programs are preparing both children and adults to approach education in new ways and gain further appreciation for literacy in the context of child and family development. Family Connections’ tagline, “Strong families build strong communities,” conveys the organization’s focus on the connections that ensure optimal physical, social and emotional development for children. Family Connections additionally provides support to families with children who have special needs, English as a Second Language students, and pregnant women in need of health education and services. Thanks to Family Connections, families like Sheri’s and so many others are reaching tremendous milestones, one child at a time. A Family Connections client family enjoys time spent together in the Play-A-Day program. For more information on Family Connections, visit www.familyconnections1.org or call (216) 321-0079. A Memo From A Member Child Guidance Center Child Guidance Center, Inc (CGC) is a non-profit organization based in Santa Ana, CA. CGC was established in 1967 and has been serving the children and families of Orange County for over 40 years. to treating parents and their young child(ren), ages 2-10, together. A therapist standing behind a one-way mirror coaches the parent wearing a wireless earphone on specific ways of relating to or managing the child’s behavior “at the moment”. This section is offered to a member organization that does not currently have the resources to distribute a printed newsletter of their own. Printing of A Memo from a Member is generously donated by The Printery. www.theprintery.com MISSION: • To provide quality outpatient mental health and child abuse related counseling • To empower children and families to reach their potential • To educate on the importance of prevention and treatment OUR SERVICES: TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS: Through contracts from the Orange County Health Care agency/Behavioral Health Division, Social Services Agency, United Way, Pacific Life, outside funders, and community support, CGC provides in-depth counseling programs that include individual, family and group counseling; Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT); Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior treatment/ psychological testing; and psychiatric evaluation and medication support. PARENT-CHILD INTERACTION THERAPY: PCIT is an innovative, evidence-based approach SAVE THE DATE! CHILD GUIDANCE CENTER’S 29TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY TREE FANTASY EVENT SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4TH, 2011 FROM 11A.M. – 3P.M. HELD AT THE BALBOA BAY CLUB IN NEWPORT BEACH, CA This is the 29th year of our well known, professionally decorated Christmas tree raffle, replete with themed gifts, auction items, and a delicious holiday lunch. Volunteer opportunities are available to help Child Guidance Center with fundraising events, business development, and technology. Please call Lori Pack at (714)-953-4455 ext. 617. To learn more, visit www.cgcoc.org or call (714) 953-4455. FOUNDATION FACT: The power of Festival of Children Foundation lies in our ability to bring charities, companies, organizations and individuals together and use the strength of our numbers to effect change.

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