SCI outreach program rewards parents for going extra mile

SCI Parent Outreach Program recognized parents who went above and beyond to improve parenting skills. Program coordinator Wynter Davis, left, presented certificate to Sharika Adams, participant in the program.

Everyone loves to get rewards and recognition for a job well done.

Providing positive recognition of an accomplishment serves to raise individual self-esteem, reinforce their value to the organization, improve their self-image and encourage them to accomplish even greater results in the future.

The Studer Community Institute Parent Outreach Program recognized and rewarded parents who completed at least eight sessions of the program and demonstrated progress in improving parenting skills and helping build their babies’ brains.

Six parents in the Pensacola Area Housing Commission’s Attucks Court campus earned a Certificate of Excellence for taking the time and making the sacrifice to consistently attended the weekly program designed to assist them in being better parents and helping their children reach developmental milestones.

The simple, but significant occasion was a way for us to give the parents a token of appreciation and show that despite the difficulties and challenges, they deserve commendation for caring enough to make a better life for their children.

The certificate ceremony highlighted their dedication and commitment to improving their quality of life through their efforts to help build better and stronger brains in their babies.

Area Housing Assistant Director Shirley Henderson and Audrey Ross, Attucks Court manager, attended the ceremony at the Fricker Community Resource Center, along with several other parents their young children.

Henderson commended the mothers for their desire to become better parents and for their dedication in working to provide a better life for themselves and their children.

Sonny’s BBQ graciously providing a complimentary lunch as we gave kudos to the mothers who have taken the steps to participate in the enrichment program.

The SCI Parent Outreach Program is designed to work directly with parents to engage them in day-to-day activities and build on what they already know and do: talk early and often with their babies and toddlers.

Since July, the parent program has focused on helping parents use the power they have to build their babies’ brains through words and interactions.

The weekly sessions offer training and tips to build strategies and skills in early learning initiatives for parents of children under 4 years old in Area Housing campuses at Moreno and Attucks courts.

The primary goal is to not only build babies’ brains through talking and communicating, but also to prepare them for kindergarten.

Research shows that kindergarten readiness is among the most important measures of a child’s academic progress. Children who are behind in kindergarten are more likely to be behind in third-grade reading, and they rarely catch up throughout their school careers.

Nearly 50 parents have attended at least one session at both campuses. Six to 10 parents regularly attend the sessions at both locations each week.

The Housing Commission already works with social service providers to assist its tenants in developing necessary coping and problem-solving skills for daily living. Our partnership has gone a long way in helping to meet that goal.

Of the Area Housing Commission’s nearly 1,000 residents, more than 250 are children between birth and 3 years old. We want to reach as many as possible to improve kindergarten readiness in our county.

That’s important because on average children from underserved communities know fewer words and have been read to less often than those in middle-income neighborhoods. Some parents never finished school, others have several jobs and no time to talk to their children or read to them at least 15 minutes every day. This affects the brain development necessary to prepare for success later in life, without which even early education is too late.

Parenting is difficult even in the best of circumstances, and when coupled with other stressful life situations, it becomes even more challenging.

We know that parent involvement in early literacy is directly connected to academic achievement.

For parents, involvement in their children’s education has been linked to increased parental confidence in, and satisfaction with, parenting, as well as increased interest in their own education.

Most parents want to be involved and engaged in their child’s learning, and many are able to establish and maintain ongoing and productive interaction with their children on a regular basis.

Research shows that nearly 85 percent of the brain is developed in a child’s first three years. We aim to make a difference for our children by equipping their parents with critical tools, skills and strategies to help build better brains and better lives.

The Parent Outreach Program is one of several initiatives created and designed to offer educational and informative lessons and activities to engage and involve parents.

Recognizing and rewarding parents for their participation go a long way in showing how much we appreciate their efforts to improve the quality of life for their children and our community by working to build their babies’ brains and get them ready for kindergarten, school and beyond.

Congratulations for going the extra mile.