In 1961, our founder, Mara Moser, saw how isolation negatively impacted young families in poverty and conceived of a Mothers’ Club, where young parents could find fellowship and learn alongside their children. Since then, Families Forward Learning Center has become a community hub for low income families with young children. The sense of community we foster in our families is so strong that it extends beyond the walls of our learning center. During this difficult period of social distancing and uncertainty, that sense of community is being tested.
We are proud to share that while our facility will remain closed as long as stay-at-home orders are in place, our programs continue. Our most impactful services are being delivered via telephone, video and messaging applications. Using platforms like Class Dojo, Facebook and Instagram we are helping children and parents engage in early childhood learning activities together as well as sharing vital resources and information to aid struggling families.
Our teachers are maintaining daily contact with their students and families, and our Parent Engagement Specialist is reaching out weekly to assess families’ needs and help them connect with resources. Responding to needs voiced by our families during these calls, we recently emptied our supply closets of diapers and wipes, delivering these to families who have lost work due to the shutdown.
Our families have demonstrated incredible resiliency during this stressful time. Many are sharing with us that the close friendships they have developed with fellow Families Forward parents are helping them to feel less alone as they connect via phone and social media. However, the need for mental health care and parent support is ongoing and we expect these needs to become more acute as the crisis wears on.
Though we are physically distant, we remain deeply connected with our families and our community. We invite you to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram to see how our staff and families are responding to this crisis.
By quickly pivoting our program delivery systems to continue providing our vital services to families, we have also been able to maintain all of our full and part time staff members. While our government contracts remain in place, it is unclear what the impact of this crisis will be on the philanthropic community. What is clear, is that we will need your help. If you are able to make a donation, please contribute today. If you need any additional information or would like to help in any way, please contact Liz Kwong at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are living in exceptional times and things are changing daily. Over the next few weeks we encourage you to stay healthy and care for your families as we do the same for our families.
Stay well and thank you for your support.
Elva D. Sandoval