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100 K grant jumpstarts program for low-income parents and children

Tue, Aug 13, 2013

A $100,000 grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute will jump-start an innovative two-generation education initiative for low-income parents and their young children in Evanston. The program draws upon award-winning research from Northwestern University and also from the Evanston Community Foundation’s (ECF) ongoing kindergarten-to-workforce readiness initiative, Every Child Ready for Kindergarten, Every Youth Ready for Work (Every Child Ready).

Designed to help members of low-income Evanston families further their education and careers, the two-generation pilot program will provide early childhood education for children as well as education, training and employment opportunities for their parents.

The new education and training opportunities to be developed for parents of low-income Evanston families will support and intensify the benefits experienced by parents engaged in home visiting programs through the Evanston Community Foundation’s Every Child Ready project, now in its seventh year of implementation. “Development of stronger parenting skills through reduction of parental stress and social isolation has been one key focus of our work,” said Marybeth Schroeder, vice president for programs at the Foundation
Based on its engagement in the early childhood sphere and in workforce training and development partnerships since 2007, ECF will provide leadership and program implementation support for the Evanston pilot project, and Northwestern will direct an accompanying research study, led by Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, a professor at NU’s School of Education and Social Policy and a developmental psychologist at its Institute of Policy Research and by and Teresa Eckrich Sommer, senior research scientist at IPR. After a year, both ECF and Northwestern will develop a funding and partnership strategy and a plan for potential expansion in the future.

“Our Every Child Ready initiative has extended the work of home visiting and family support that our community partners have been doing by one third,” said Sara Schastok, Ph.D, CEO of ECF.

“Our project recognizes the connection between children’s earliest years and their educational and career successes later in life. So the dual education approach that addresses the educational needs of children and their parents is a great fit with our project.”

By Sarah Berz
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