Monday, November 24, 2008
Yayy for progress!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The retreat was also about trying new things. Many of the home instructors had never been camping before, or canoeing, or rock climbing, or any of the other fun things we did. It was a really great bonding experience, and I think we all had an awesome time. I know I did! In our cabins, we had to make a cabin name, and individual camper names. Our cabin was Far Far Away, and we were all Shrek characters (from either of the three movies). I was Snow White... for obvious reasons ;) (because I'm just so darn white... haha) I had some firsts myself: I climbed all the way to the top of the rock wall and rung the bell!! And I also tried archery for the first time, and on my first couple tries I hit the ring around the bull's eye :) Not bad for my first try! I'll get the bull's eye next time ;)
Here are some pictures of me climbing the rock wall!
That's me all the way at the top, ringing the bell! :)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Despite my troubles and the headache that nagged me well into the 4.5 hour drive south, the conference was actually well worth it! The keynote speaker was fantastic: Heather McLeod Grant, co-author of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, a book which instantly earned a top slot on my '08 Christmas list. Naturally, the Governor, who was also supposed to speak, became 'unavoidably detained', so we turned our attention instead to a 3 minute generic video clip during his allotted time. The individual sessions were great too- My favorites were the presentation made by Benevon, an organization which teaches nonprofits to create sustainable funding; and one made by a OneStar Foundation rep on creating effective logic models, aptly titled "For Love of Logic Models". Both speakers were very entertaining, and their subject matter very applicable to my mission here with Texas HIPPY. By the end of the conference I was absolutely bursting with enthusiasm and new goals and tactics to take back with me to Home Sweet Carrollton.
Thanks OneStar Foundation for putting on an amazing conference!
Here's a picture of me and Tina at the conference! We were definitely listening to the presenter...
If anyone's interested in learning more about OneStar Foundation, their website is www.onestarfoundation.org. "OneStar Foundation: Texas Center for Social Impact is a statewide nonprofit that improves the lives of every Texan, every day."
Thursday, October 30, 2008
We hope you enjoy World Fest 2008!!
*Try these nine ways to share cultural traditions with your young child:
Sing traditional lullabies to your baby.
Display objects or pictures that reflect your culture.
Read stories or fold tales from your culture and tell them to your children.
Share stories passed down from generation to generation.
Prepare foods that represent your culture with your child.
Take pictures of your celebrations and make a family album. Look through it often.
Visit other relatives and encourage them to share cultural practices from their childhood.
Invite friends and their families to share your holiday traditions and celebrations, and invite them to talk about theirs.
Tell your child the meaning of his/her name, if it has one in your culture.
There are many different ways to greet people. Some cultures use gestures and do not use words, like bowing or touching noses. Here is a list of words that say “Hello” in different languages.
Ni Hao (Chinese)
Guten Tag (German)
On a side note, I've just started up a new Junior Girl Scouts troop in Carrollton, so I'm excited to be getting involved in the community! I'm also starting to volunteer in my church, and for other community events (like Nature Fest a few weeks ago), so I'm really starting to feel like a member of the Carrollton community. And I voted early! So dare I say that I'm a Texan now? We'll see!
Monday, October 20, 2008
They also invited me to their 18th Annual Silent Auction on Friday, November 14th, which will be held to raise money for their amazing organization. The CECPTA then uses 100% of the money raised to promote the welfare of area children and their families through parent education, children’s programs, community outreach and family activities. Sounds like a really fun event!
If anyone would like further information about the Carrollton Early Childhood PTA, their website is http://www.cecpta.org .
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program of the Corporation for National & Community Service that is specifically geared towards fighting poverty. So every single VISTA's overall goal in the back of their minds is to alleviate poverty, meaning it was important for me to try and understand how my role with HIPPY tied in. Admittedly, at first I didn't really understand how my job at HIPPY was going to fight poverty, but it became clearer as the orientation went on.
So here's yet another way HIPPY can benefit a community!!! Exciting! Many parents don't know how to get their kids ready for school in terms of literacy skills and exposure to learning, resulting in their child failing in school. This can potentially have a domino effect, and dig a hole which the child cannot pull him or herself out of, causing them to get further and further behind in their education. Additionally, the Home Instructors are given an extremely valuable opportunity to obtain job skills, and a college scholarship- a chance to lift themselves out of poverty if they had fallen into it.I also met some great people at the PSO, and it was amazing to be around so many community service oriented young minds! It's amazing to know that so many are dedicated to fighting poverty and helping their community in such unique ways.
Here's a picture of me and some of the wonderful VISTA's I met at the PSO- I know they're all going to do brilliant work in their communities!!!
If you want to learn more about AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Vista, please visit http://www.americorps.org/ Tell them I sent you ;)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
HIPPY is an acronym (phew!) for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters. It's a mouthful, but when you think about it, it's a great way to explain a complex program in a simple way. It is essentially, as its name suggests, a home-based school readiness program for children aged 3-5 in which home-instructors utilize role-play of curriculum with parents, who in turn teach the curriculum to their children. HIPPY teaches parents to become their child's first teacher, and empowers them to instill a love of learning in their children, strengthening the whole family unit in the process. In short, the process is thus: a HIPPY coordinator trains HIPPYCorps home instructors on developmentally age appropriate curriculum, the home instructors then role-play curriculum with HIPPY parents in their home, and then the parents teach the curriculum to their children.
I want to talk a little bit about just how beneficial this program is to all of the participants. I could go on and on about the logistics of the program, but I think the benefits of HIPPY are really what make the program so unique, and so impressive! The benefits of the HIPPY program to the community are really four-fold. First and foremost, the children benefit greatly from the home instruction that takes place under the HIPPY model. School-readiness for pre-school youngsters is the most important goal of HIPPY, and the curriculum included provides age-appropriate materials for children aged 3-5. When the time comes for children to begin school, they have already been exposed to the learning process, and can more readily adapt to an education-centered environment. The HIPPY model reduces the perception that the classroom and the learning process are foreign entities, and increases the perception that school and home are both venues for learning. Additionally, there are positive effects on the child through the growth and development of the family unit. Children become closer to their parent or parents, and start to look up to them as a role model and as their guide. They recognize that the parent is not just someone who fetches them food and cleans up after them, but as someone with knowledge to impart and with wisdoms to share. The HIPPY model strengthens the bond between parent and child.As many benefits as there are to the children through the HIPPY process, there are equally as many benefits for the parents. As previously mentioned, it strengthens the family unit, which is mutually beneficial to parent and child. Additionally though, being able to mentor and teach their children really empowers the parent and makes them feel like someone worthy of their child's affection, and worthy of being looked up to. This in turn boosts the parents' confidence level, producing a positive attitude which can easily spill over into other areas of their family and professional lives. The group meetings also provide a venue in which parents can share ideas and insights, contributing to their feelings of success and confidence. Additionally, parents have an opportunity to meet other parents like themselves, and friendships are formed, building lasting connections and relationships within the community.
The HIPPY model also positively effects schools in the community (which is a primary reason HIPPY is more often than not situated at a school district or with several individual schools). In quantitative terms, the HIPPY program has directly contributed to higher test scores of children who went through the program, and teachers overwhelmingly deemed their students who were in HIPPY "ready for school". The HIPPY program also leads more parents to be involved in their child's education following the conclusion of the program. HIPPY parents are more likely to volunteer at their child's school, join a PTA or other organization, and/or take an interest in their child's education in some other way.
And as the fourth group positively affected by the HIPPY program, the home-instructors themselves receive a number of benefits for their contributions to the HIPPY process. HIPPYCorps members receive the Segal Education Award (an AmeriCorps scholarship of $2,363), which encourages them to seek higher education following their service, which in turn will help them become that much more employable. Additionally, the opportunity to be a home-instructor is often their first job, and provides excellent job training and the experience needed to transition into the working world. The home-instructors not only improve their own future through education and job experience, they become role models for the HIPPY parents and the community at large. They are also provided with income, and receive all the other benefits that come along with being an AmeriCorps member (such as loan forbearance, health care, etc.). Home-instructors can stay in their position for a limited term of 3 years, in order to continuously provide this opportunity to the community.
By George I think they've got it! They really have thought of everything, which is going to make it so much easier for me to complete my mission here this year. It's always easier to promote something you really care about and believe in, and that's definitely how I feel about HIPPY!
So I told my Mom all of this, and needless to say, she felt a little better about her baby moving off to Texas to work for those HIPPY folks! A happy ending indeed.
If you want to learn more about Texas HIPPY or HIPPY USA, either ask me! Or go to www.unt.edu/hippy for our state program site, or http://www.hippyusa.org/ for our national site.