The Guilford Child Development Family Opportunity Center will have even more success with two additional childcare professionals recently hired using the grant it received from High Point Community Foundation.
The Family Opportunity Center mission is to address local poverty with ABE and GED classes, workforce training, financial literacy, health and wellness classes and services provided by multiple partner agencies such as Guilford Technical Community College and Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine.
“We are so grateful for this grant. We’ve been working for 51 years. teaching Head Start and other programs, facilitating the Nurse Family Partnership, managing immigrant refugee programs and serving children 1800 hot meals per day. It’s a gift to us to be able to do more for the community.”
— Brad Huffstetler
It’s a proven approach and very popular, but Guilford Child Development recognized that one of the challenges is childcare for the adult participants. Lack of safe, reliable childcare may be the most common reason for dropping out of the program.
“We asked participants and a lot of them told us they tried two or three times before, they had to drop out to manage their family life,” said Michelle Cole, Grant Professional Guilford Child Development. “If you have a child, where do you leave that child while you’re in class or studying? You are preoccupied wondering if your child is being taken care of.”
Now, with the grant award, Family Opportunity Center participants will have professional childcare at the same location as their classes, at no charge to the parents. This is a huge advantage and anyone with children knows what the cost of daycare is.
It’s not babysitting. It’s school!
Children of participants will soon be enrolled in a pre-kindergarten curriculum that teaches skills—numbers, colors, socialization, how to ask questions—to prepare them for better outcomes in school.
“It’s a two-generational approach,” said Brad Huffstetler, development director of Guildford Child Development. “We want to break the cycle of poverty for parents and children with the goal of helping families reach their full potential.”
Providing childcare makes a huge difference in the learning outcomes for parents so they can increase their job skills and advance.
It’s also holistic. Moms and dads can become stressed out balancing work, education and family. So, the Family Opportunity Center provides wellness classes covering healthy cooking, stress reduction and eventually will offer yoga.
“We offer a whole person approach—mind and body,” said Huffstetler. “A lot of our moms are in survival mode and don’t have time to take care of themselves. We’re now able to provide them with the time and space to relax a little.”
Through child education, adult training and wellness classes, the program puts adults and their children in a better space to learn for better outcomes all around.
Cole recommends that all community non-profits should consider the grants program of the High Point Community Foundation. The application process was easy to follow and everyone at the Foundation was very helpful. She recommends attending the initial grant interest meeting that is held before each grant cycle.
“We submitted a fairly simple application—for which I was grateful! —and the process was painless,” said Cole. “I think this shows that the Foundation really is about the community.”