From my experience working with non profits, AOK is one of only a ahnful that I can say "walks the talk" when it comes to respecting and empowering those who they work with to be economically viable and providers of quality services. This organization, unlike any other, goes the extra mile to make sure that the family child care providers receive the training and support that is responsive to their cultural and language needs. For example, when you go their annual conference of family child care providers you will see a room of over 200 hundred people and every presentation and workshop is simultaneously being translated. Everything they do is top quality and strategic. They are a inspiration to others throughout the city, the region and the state. If only there were the resources to have this gem work with all the family care providers in the state ... then we could be sure that infants and toddlers were getting the best care they could and that thier parents would be geeting the support of a trined child care provider.
As someone who is concerned about the quantity and quality of care for children ages birth to five, I am so happy to have All Our Kin in our community helping to address this issue. For over 10 years they have helped to increase the number licensed family day care providers in the city--an amazing feat when statewide there has been a rapid decline in licensed family child care homes. Keeping homes open is about supporting the providers--offering information, consultation, community. They do it. They do it well.
I think All Our Kin is the most brilliant idea ever for a nonprofit, creating day care and job training solutions at once. I hope this expands--we need this in New York!
All Our Kin provides women with the tools to not just address their current needs and challenges, but to acquire the skills, knowledge and motivation to build a better life for themselves and their children.
Having heard about what great work Janna and Jessica are doing in our community, I interviewed them for the Lifespan Development textbook I am writing. That way, readers of the text are exposed to careers that are outside of the usual trajectory (e.g. Psychology, Education, Nursing, Social Work, etc.), but very much benefit the development of children and adults. I also discuss All Our Kin with my university students every semester, and have some students that would like to volunteer. Many of my students are of modest means though, and work full-time in addition to taking courses full-time. Were All Our Kin to have increased financial support, I believe a greater number of students could become involved, even as part-time interns. Should that be the case, more of the community would be served by their fantastic organization.
All Our Kin provides an essential service to the city of New Haven. The program not only provides people with job skills but with life skills. The participants receive expert knowledege in child development and quality child care. Study after study shows the importance of the first three years of a child's life. Children who attend family child care provided by AOK graduates know how to provide the optimal environment to enable children to be successful throughout their lives. AOK has a commitment to the entire community shown by their offering of bilingual training. All of their sessions are taught in English and Spanish. The mix of participants provides a richer learning environment for all. Every year they offer a conference for family child care providers that is very well attended. Various workshops are offered as well as a keynote address. Providers always have high praise for the event and leave energized to continue their work.