Chicago – Illinois Action for Children’s Community Parenting Saturation Project is a multi-year, multi-million dollar, philanthropically-fueled effort to support parents and families with a demonstrated need for resources and supports for their children. Today, IAFC announces the three community organizations that have been selected to be recipient partners.
“We are thrilled about this opportunity to test a theory of change and to learn from and work with the three groups participating in this project—in Rockford, Aurora, and North Lawndale—to see how communities can come together to support families as they prepare their young children for kindergarten,” said Choua Vue, VP of Community Impact at Illinois Action for Children.
The Community Parenting Saturation project is a strong reflection of Illinois Action for Children’s focus on Building Strong Families and Powerful Communities™ and aims to demonstrate that communities have the powerful ability to provide resources for families to strengthen the skills and knowledge that benefit their children.
“Parents are their children’s first teacher and we know how positively they can impact a child’s learning and growth, especially with access to family strengthening supports and resources. The Community Parenting Saturation Project presents a unique opportunity for us to live this belief,” Vue said.
According to the latest state-level data from Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), just one in every four young children in Illinois enters school kindergarten-ready. The Community Parenting Saturation Project aims to close this gap by significantly increasing community engagement with parents.
“The funds and training we will receive from this grant will accelerate our movement in our Rockford Region to ensure that our earliest learners and citizens have the supports they need to thrive,” said Anisha Grimmett, Executive Director of Alignment Rockford. “We feel this starts with their caregivers and the adults they encounter in life. As a result, through our focused, targeted saturation strategies, we hope to teach our entire community the key role they play in positively shaping a child’s life.”
Goals of this innovative project include:
- Making available to all parents of young children a comprehensive array of interventions, activities, and supports that collectively address multiple levels of parenting needs and concerns.
- Implement multiple and ongoing opportunities for parents with young children to strengthen their parenting skills to improve outcomes for their children in a saturated approach.
- Identify and advocate for policies that support saturation or address family barriers to services
- Design and implement strategies using a human-centered design approach that involves parents of young children in a collective process to inform community issues and develop solutions.
“We are grateful to Illinois Action for Children for the opportunity to pilot the Community Parenting Saturation Project in the city of Aurora,” said Trish Rooney, V.P. of Programs at Fox Valley United Way-SPARK Early Childhood Collaboration. “Aurora has over 20,000 children birth to age 5, and this program builds on our collaboration’s focus of leveraging resources and building capacity to ensure positive outcomes for our families and their young children.”
Illinois Action for Children will provide project oversight and support for the three communities. This includes planning, capacity building, implementation, and sustainability efforts. IAFC will also provide a wide range of training and technical assistance to communities including how to use data for project development, engage families locally, conduct a community needs assessment, and utilize a racial equity approach.
“In this season of gratitude, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to Illinois Action for Children and the philanthropic partners of this project for selecting us as their grantee in North Lawndale,” said Bela Moté, CEO of Carole Robertson Center for Learning. “Our longstanding efforts and partnerships will be further leveraged to support ‘North Lawndale Ready for Kindergarten Ready for Life’—creating deeper connections, diverse engagement, and equitable outcomes for our youngest learners and their families so they enter kindergarten ready.”
Illinois Action for Children is a state and national leader in the early care and education community. Our outreach and work with low-income, hard-to-reach families, has led us to ensure that early care and education, and other opportunities, are accessible to the children most in need.