At the outset of every year, there are countless Americans that aim to accomplish a number of resolutions. Even though it’s a few weeks in, look into adding a resolution that involves others, specifically with volunteering. By adding volunteering to a resolution list for the New Year, you can add something that provides a lot of opportunity for different involvement.
As a non-profit home health care agency, the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut (VNA/SCC) provides home health care in the home and communities it serves. In addition to nursing care, our specialized services include cardiac recovery, home infusion therapy, joint replacement therapy, living with cancer, wireless telemonitoring and wound care. In alignment with our non-profit mission, we make every effort to serve those who are underinsured and uninsured through our grant-funded Subsidized Care Program.
Grant funding from United Way of Greater New Haven will enable us, through our Subsidized Care Program, to serve about 100 New Haven residents that need vital home health care services. Due to extended high unemployment rates and the increasing costs of health care coverage, more and more of our patients are in greater need. The real challenge is that we do not have enough funding to meet the home health care needs of the New Haven community and we are often turning away the sickest patients
Every day I read about the perils of our disadvantaged youth around the country. Teen boys as young as 13 and 14 who are joining gangs, getting arrested for drugs, getting shot and leaving their families with anguish, pain and a lot of questions. As a mother of a 17 year old boy, I truly wouldn’t know what to do or how to handle it.
I read an article in the New Haven Register, "How a New Haven kid thanked his uncle for setting him straight" and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. I hope this story inspires people who care about inequality in our society to make a difference by becoming a mentor. You don't need special skills to be a mentor, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person.
Ronald McDonald House has been hosting a stream of volunteer groups from our friends at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Back in December, the Admitting Department from the hosptial became the fourth group to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House. The group of nine volunteers woke up early and cooked up a fantastic breakfast for the residents at the home. The bellies of parents and children alike were filled with bacon, eggs, bagels and much more. Yale-New Haven Hospital is really doing their part to LIVE UNITED.
There is a lot of discussion these days about how to improve our education system -- the conversation is definitely happening here locally, it's going on at the state level, and it's a national concern as well. I found this recent piece in The Atlantic very interesting because it highlights a different path that has led to educational success in Finland: a focus on giving "every child . .
In November, Kate Harrington (pictured right)- our Full Day School Readiness classroom teacher- came up with the idea of a Center-wide reading challenge. She and I collaborated to form "The Bookworm Reading Challenge," which encourages literacy, cognitive development, and parent involvement in their child's education. Since November 14th, more than 1,500 books have been read at home (to 174 children). Each classroom has an individual goal, based on the number of children in the classroom and the hope that parents will read to their children at least one book per day/night.
This holiday season seems to be extremely stressful for a lot of people I've run into. In the midst of our everyday stresses and a poor economy, I encourage everyone to count their blessings and remember the true meaning of this time of year. I would also urge those who are fortunate to give to those who are less fortunate- whether it be donating their time at a social service agency, participating in a gift giving program, or donating money to a favorite charity. I'm a firm believer in United Way's motto "Give. Advocate. Volunteer." especially this time of year.
For so many children and families in New Haven and surrounding towns, Farnam Neighborhood House is a home away from home. Farnam offers a variety of programs, many of which have been around since I was a kid.
As a kid, I participated in Biddy Basketball and at the time, I had no idea what basketball was or how it was played. I quickly learned about this exciting game from the staff and volunteers. I dedicated myself to improving and studying because the Farnam staff and volunteers told me it was my choice to change my life circumstances. Several years later, I received college scholarship offers from several prominent Division I schools, but decided on a local Division II university.
The afterschool program at Augusta Lewis Troup school provides a safe and productive environment for the children enrolled in the program coming from the surrounding neighborhoods. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is one of the Boost! wrap-around services offered to the students to support their social and academic growth through mentoring.
Last month, as part of the United Way of Greater New Haven’s Success by 6 Turns Six celebrations, All Our Kin held two great events to celebrate an economic evaluation of the Family Child Care Tool Kit Licensing Program. The evaluation, conducted by the University of Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, revealed that the Tool Kit project delivers $15-20 of economic benefits for every dollar spent.
Each school year, Wexler-Grant Community School and many schools around the country host book fairs to promote literacy. The Wexler-Grant teachers decided to get more families involved and host a PJ Party that showcased the book fair. Students were asked to attend in their pj's and bring their families in for a night of reading. The school provided mats along the halls so everyone would have somewhere comfy to sit and read either new books they purchased from the fair, or borrow one of the many books the library has to offer. All students that attended received a "No Homework" pass for that night, and their names were put into a raffle where they had the chance to win one of $100 worth of free books. There was also milk, cider, and cookies for all of the attendees. In total, we had over 100 people come to the PJ Party. We have many more great events coming up, so make sure to check out the Wexler-Grant Boost! Twitter account (@WGBoost) for updates and details on the events happening at the school!
What do we touch that has the most germs? Hmm, not a toilet handle. No, not a car door, not a trash can. Hmmm, what could it be? Ok, what am I holding? (a dollar bill) Where did it come from? Yes, maybe the grocery store! And where did they get it from? Ok, maybe the bank. Where did they get it from? Another person! And where did they get it from? Another person! And where did they get it from? Do you see? What do the most people touch? Dollar bills. Think about it!
Yesterday afternoon, the Little Scientists program facilitated a lesson about germs and sanitation. The teacher takes a group of Troup students from second to fourth grade, and he gets them excited about science. In fact, the one object we touch that is touched by the greatest number of people beforehand is the dollar bill. He has also covered colors, plants, and lungs, among other topics. Last week, the Little Scientists program taught students about respiration. They brought in real lungs: one healthy and one from a smoker that was quite hard and black. The Troup students could see tangible examples of the topics, and they all created a “lung” using a balloon and a soda bottle. By squeezing the bottle, the balloon filled with air, just as our diaphragms push up on our lungs, which fills them with air. These Little Scientist projects teach them how things work and show them that education can be exciting.
At Solar Youth, we believe that achieving long-term success, no matter where you come from or what challenges you face in life, depends on the acquisition of core personal and social competencies. This belief is backed by a growing body of research in the positive youth development field. Solar Youth uses the Search Institute’s Developmental Asset framework, one of the most widely used approaches to youth development in the U.S., in determining which outcomes we seek for our youth.
In the ALIVE classroom, students are invited to make meaningful connections between their lives and their schoolwork. Through co-teaching and the use of art, drama, music and poetry, students express themselves and gain a stronger sense of self-worth and belonging.
“Students are affected by stress and that gets in the way of their abilities to get the most out of their school experience,” said Dr. Nisha Sajnani, director of drama therapy, community health, and ALIVE School Based Programs at the Post Traumatic Stress Center.
There is much to be grateful for in 2011. It is the time of year to reflect, celebrate with friends and family and to be hopeful for the future. We have done our reflection and we are grateful to live and work in Greater New Haven.
The school reform effort in New Haven has gained tremendous momentum during the past year. The leadership of our community understands that education is the key to future success and the entire community has become engaged in making the changes we need to ensure educational success for all of our children. In July, 110 students were granted college scholarships through Promise, a component of the school change initiative. Going forward, students that graduate from a New Haven public school and meet the eligibility requirements, including a 3.0 grade point average in high school, 90 percent attendance rate, a record of good behavior and completion of 40 hours of community service will have their college education paid for by Yale University.
The Family Resource Center of East Haven has begun planning for the 2012 Kinderprep Workshop Series. We have included the In Home Providers of East Haven, and their children and families to be a part of our collaboration. Our goal continues to be to provide parents and children the strategies and skills that will enhance their sense of optimism about learning. These skills will help lead children to be successful in school.