Seeds for Success received a $7,300-grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to fund 150 Learning-At-Home Kits.
Seeds for Success is an early childhood home-visiting program that serves pregnant women and families with children ages 0-5 in the Kalamazoo RESA (KRESA) service area. It provides developmental screenings, parent education, referrals to resource connections and community playgroups. Services are provided by a consortium of organizations, including KRESA, Caring Network, Comstock Community Learning Center, and the Elizabeth Upjohn Community Healing Center.
The grant-funded kits will provide families and children with a set of effective, age-appropriate, educational learning materials, fostering opportunities for exploration, parent-child interactions, skill strengthening and play. The materials focus on cognitive development, communication, motor skills and social-emotional learning.
“These educational materials promote the healthy growth and development of children while also increasing school readiness,” said Corissa Griffey, a family support specialist. She co-authored the grant with Monica Markillie, a family support specialist who works out of the Comstock Community Learning Center.
“We wanted to assist families with learning materials and activities that may not be easily accessible due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Griffey. Like so many others, Seeds for Success has had to adapt to a primarily virtual platform. Services are being offered virtually, and in-home or outside when possible, said program coordinator Joy Smith. “We’re being as flexible as possible and doing what works best for families,” she said.
What makes Seeds for Success unique is the program is universal, Smith said. There are no income requirements and pregnant women and all children under 5 years old can receive services. Because it is based on a consortium, the program can offer a wide range of supports. For example, the team includes one person who is certified in baby massage, and five certified lactation consultants. Seeds for Success can connect families to a variety of helpful resources such as laundry facilities, diapers, and parenting classes. They also operate two community play spaces, with a third on the way.
“We’re grateful for this award from the Consumers Energy Foundation,” Smith said. “The kits ensure we can continue to support families and young children whether we meet virtually or not.”
For more information about Seeds for Success, visit kresa.org.