Our March issue is full of friendly faces! Nothing makes us happier than hearing from staff, volunteers, and program participants... all the people who make our work possible and worthwhile.
A Growing Well Graduation
A round of applause for this little Growing Well graduate (and Mom, of course!). We work in partnership with families to increase overall well-being, achieve stability, and ensure that their children are healthy, safe, and ready to succeed in school, work, and life. The skills and strategies gained from our Growing Well early childhood programming set families up for long-term success. Way to go, Landon! We can't wait to see what you will achieve!
30 Days of Books
March is National Reading Month!
We love books at Family Lifeline. Growing Well Parent Educators bring a book to each home visit for family storytime. Reading together not only promotes early literacy, but provides an opportunity for positive parent-child interaction, a central component of our early childhood programming. Books are also a fantastic way to introduce children to new ideas and address sensitive topics in an engaging, age-appropriate way.
We want to ensure that the books we share with families are not only fun and educational, but diverse and culturally relevant. Check out our Amazon Wishlist to see the books we carefully and thoughtfully selected. Please consider purchasing a few copies for our library.
Suze Bono, Program Manager & Aliyah Paul, Parent Educator
How long have you been at Family Lifeline?
SUZE: Since May 2020
ALIYAH: 3.5 years
What does a partnership with Family Lifeline look like?
ALIYAH: Home visits typically take place in the home of an enrolled family, with at least one caregiver, the child, and parent educator present. However, since COVID 19 we have been offering services virtually, typically on Zoom. The caregiver and parent educator will review parenting skills and child development information, complete screenings, and set family goals. The family will also engage in activities with the child. This partnership lasts as long as the family is available to participate, or until the child graduates at age 5.
Can you share a favorite moment you've had with a family recently?
ALIYAH: Recently, I was able to see a family in person for the first time as they enrolled during the pandemic. It was so energizing to interact with the parents and now toddler after almost a year had passed. Being able to play with the child brought new excitement I hadn't yet experienced virtually.
"In early childhood home visiting, new and expectant parents get to partner with a person who is there to support them on their journey of becoming the parents they want to be."
What is early childhood home visiting and why is it important?
SUZE: In early childhood home visiting, new and expectant parents get to partner with a person who is there to support them on their journey of becoming the parents they want to be. Home visitors meet parents where they are at; they respect the family's culture, recognize strengths, and strategize with parents around the challenges they experience. They do this in the family's home in order to be more immersed in the family's reality and provide support in a space that is comfortable and familiar to families.
What is one piece of advice you have for families with young children?
SUZE: Don't forget to take care of yourself! As much as our kiddos may always want all of our attention, it is so important for them to see adults in their lives taking care of themselves.
Note: Aliyah will be starting her new role as a program manager on March 14. Congrats, Aliyah!
Valentine's Day Delivery
Our friends at The Giving Heart (left) donated over 50 Valentine's Day treat bags for Visiting Volunteers program participants. Volunteers drove around the city to surprise participants with a little Valentine's Day cheer. Thank you to our Carmax volunteers (right) for helping us brighten the day for older adults and persons with disabilities living alone!
For Kindness Week 2022, staff collected nonperishable items for Shepherd's Way Relief Center and assembled a gift basket for our long-time groundskeeper, Mr. Brown.
I spent a year taking care of my mother before she passed in 2018. She had dementia so it was very intense…every day before and after work and then the better part of every weekend. I felt at a loss when all I had was my full time job so started looking for volunteer opportunities. After spending time with the people at Imperial Plaza, I wanted to work with the elderly and found Family Lifelines in the fall of 2019. It seemed like the perfect way to help others.
I think Ms. Brunson and I are comfortable together. We talk a little but most of the time, we just enjoy playing Scrabble during my visits. She is a shark and beats me nearly every time!
Driving from the near West End where I live to the East End where Ms. Brunson lives made me realize that there are truly two cities in Richmond. In the West End, neighborhoods are safe with lots of trees and a variety of grocery stores within 10 minutes. When I drive towards the East End neighborhoods, there are pot holes you could lose a child in, very few trees and the nearest store is an dilapidated convenience store. It really resonated with me how much of a bubble people live in within the West End.
Interested in becoming a Visiting Volunteer? Contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.