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Building Healthy Families

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education

Mission: The primary exempt purpose of building healthy families is to promote the success of young children in school and in life. We do this by raising the capacity of their parents and other cafe-givers to provide the nurture required to support healthy brain development. We do this in four ways: the brightstart family workshop is a free, 8-week experience for the whole family that happens on saturday mornings during the spring and fall. It is staffed by community volunteers. We bring the imagination playground to town events that serve young children at no charge. The playground consists of large blue blocks. Using the playground promotes social, cognitive, emotional and physical health for children. We provide circle of securityparenting groups to help parents build and support secure attachment with their children. We offer free community seminars on a variety of parenting topics.

Programs: Brightstart family workshop in addition to what parents are taught, they and their children receive the following: nutritious meals. Breakfast and lunch are provided for participating families and volunteers. Resources. Parents receive: age appropriate children's books, a craft kit, toys, safety items, diapers, and other items supporting good nutrition and health (a cookbook emphasizing cooking from simple, nutritious and inexpensive ingredients, information about seasonal vegetables and fruit, etc. ). We offer 'thank you' gifts to encourage attendance during and at the conclusion of the workshop. We also provide information about other available community resources. We have begun offering the ages and stages developmental s screening to families. Play and learn. An enriched play and learning experience for children (age 2 through 8) using the imagination playground, arts and crafts, and story time. An infant and toddler nursery is provided for the youngest children. A dedicated, background checked, trained and supervised staff oversees the children's program. Community. We accept each family as they are and encourage their growth with love and support throughout the workshop. Parents are welcomed as guests, not clients, into a positive, encouraging environment, free of judgment. We affirm parent's positive intentions and address their questions and concerns with respect. The entire family participates together. Fathers and mothers learn about the importance of their unique roles. We find fathers especially enjoy the science or evidence-based nature of the talks. We intentionally promote a sense of community through every aspect of the workshop, including the use of adult style learning and parent discussion that build a mutually supportive and encouraging atmosphere. Parents realize they are 'in it together' with other parents of young children and their shared struggles. Our volunteers are intentional in their positive regard for our participants and their children. Sharing meals is important for creating community that can support parent's motivation for personal growth. Further, the positive experiences of families leads consistently to positive word-of-mouth promotion. We agree with this quote from john mcknight from his book, abundant community: "building strong neighborhoods becomes a matter of everybody contributing as many of their gifts as they can to each other and to the whole. " number of persons served bhf has served 207 parents, 212 children from 139 families through the brightstart parenting workshop. In manchester, about 500 children are born each year that will enter the local schools. Our vision is to expand our capacity to reach more families in manchester through our workshop. We served 26 families with 33 parents/caregivers in attendance along with 37 children in 2017. Bhf's 2018 goal is to offer a minimum of two workshops with a similar number of persons served. Expected outcomes quantified, positive outcomes resulting from the brightstart workshop have been independently documented. The urban alliance network designed and analyzed an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the workshop at raising indicators of family well-being. The evaluation measured participant satisfaction and perceived outcomes using their pre/post survey tool. In october 2015, the urban alliance network produced a report on the effectiveness of the brightstart parenting workshop. Quoting the urban alliance report: "participants that completed the brightstart workshop series were asked a series of questions about their satisfaction with the workshops as well as perceived benefits of participation. Overall, participants were quite satisfied with the workshops as indicated by the fact that means scores for all questions were between four and five. This indicates that on average participants either 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with each statement. . . Pre- and post-test data were collected to measure family functioning, knowledge about child development, attachment relationships, social support, beliefs about reading, and parenting self-efficacy. For each of these constructs standardized measures were used to collect data. For the majority of constructs there was an increase in means scores from pre- to post test. Notably, there was a statistically significant increase for parenting self- efficacy. This indicates that participants were more confident in their parenting skills after participating in brightstart workshops. Participants were asked about how they believed they were impacted by participating in the workshops. Areas where the highest percentage of participants felt they were impacted included: understanding the importance of their job is as a parent (m=4. 71, sd = . 47), paying more attention to what their family eats (m=4. 69, sd = . 48), having goals for themselves and their family (m=4. 57, sd= . 65), feeling more confident as a parent (m=4. 57, sd= . 51) and knowing more about child development (m=4. 57, sd = . 85). " in addition to the rise in parent confidence, there were four other indicators of family well-being that showed statistically significant changes. Frequency of reading and family dinners went up, while the frequency of the child yelling at their parent and tantrums showed a sharp decline. Other indicators also showed a positive trend, but due to the small sample size have not yet reached statistical significance. We expect similar results as we continue the brightstart family workshop to reach more families.

circle of security parenting circle of security is an internationally acclaimed, 8-week video-base curriculum that helps parents and care-givers build a secure attachment with their children. It is a relationship-based (rather than behavioral) parenting program. Number of persons served we began offering circle of security parenting classes in 2016. In 2017 we offered one class for parents and one circle of security parenting in the classroom class for the professional staff of a local preschool. So far, 26 parents/care-givers have taken the class to date. The participant evaluations have been very positive.

imagination playground the imagination playground is an innovative play space that is comprised of large blue blocks that invite child-directed, creative play. It supports social, emotional, cognitive and motor skill development. In 2017 we brought the imagination playground to 14 community events. This is a primary way we engage families in the community with young children. Number of persons served these events served over 340 children and over 250 adults.

community seminars we offer five community seminars on various topics for parents, care-givers and educators.

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