In the spirit of giving, words are good and bikes are, too

We constantly remind parents that the most important thing they can give their child is the gift of words.

In every parent session we lead or brain bag we deliver, the message is crystal clear: parents have the power through talking to build their babies” brains and help build a better future for their children.

The true spirit of giving is doing for others with no expectation of getting something in return. It could be a gift you bought, one you made or the gift of time or service to benefit others.

Giving means different things to different people and that’s how it should be.

It was through the spirit of giving that brought together nearly 30 organizations of Escambia County through the generosity of Onbikes Pensacola.

Of the more than 700 bikes Onbikes provided, Studer Community Institute received 103, which were given to children whose parents participate in its parent outreach programs.

On Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 13,14), SCI, with assistance from Area Housing Commission workers, delivered the bikes to parents at Moreno and Attucks Court, and Gonzalez Head Start.

The new bikes ranged in sizes from tots to pre-teens. Each bike came with a helmet and lock.

One mother broke out in tears of joy upon receiving a bike at Gonzalez Court. She said she was homeless and had nowhere to live, much less money to buy her child a gift this holiday season.

During the holiday season, the joy of giving is an opportunity to share in spreading cheer. Our lives are richer when we share, and that great inner joy comes from helping others to better their lives.

Truly giving from the heart fills your life with joy and nourishes the soul.

Giving is one of the best investments you can make towards achieving genuine happiness.

True giving comes from the heart, with no expectation of getting anything in return.

You’ll find the more you give, the more you will receive. The power of giving is shown in kindness and generosity that you bestow on someone else.

Providing bicycles for children during Christmas is one of many ways that we strive help parents and children in our community have better lives.

Our mission to improve the quality of life through early education is a measure of giving.

Since July, SCI Parent Outreach Program has reached about 50 parents who have children between ages 0 to 3 in Attucks and Moreno Courts. Six to 10 parents regularly attend the sessions at both locations each week.

Many of the parents also have older children, and those with children up to 12 years old, experienced the joy of giving a bike to their child on Christmas Day.

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.

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.

Some families, however, must deal with challenging circumstances, such as financial difficulties, homelessness, separation and divorce, and health, mental, and emotional issues, that complicate their ability to help their child succeed in school.

During these times, support and assistance from others are critical. That’s why the Studer Community Institute is working to offer parents support to help develop the tools and skills to improve their children’s lives and get them ready for school and life.

And that is why during this holiday season, we wanted to do something meaningful and worthwhile by giving children a gift beyond the important words they need to help them develop their brains today and lead productive lives tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!