Step Up Ventura is a non-profit organization that changes the lives of homeless children by providing resources needed for family stability and early childhood educational success. This month, Step Up Ventura launched their new Outreach Program, focused on helping displaced families address the challenges of raising young children in crisis by positively affecting parent-child relationships and providing educational materials in an effort to create a better living environment.
Homelessness can bring physical and emotional hardship to both the parents and young children, often breaking down family ties. The Outreach Program is designed to help parents identify their child’s specific needs, strengthen language skills, help develop strong basic math skills and form healthier family bonds. The Outreach Program targets infants, toddlers, and young children, tackling the trauma associated with homelessness.
The Outreach team consists of a Mental Health Specialist and Early Childhood Specialist who meet the parents and children at a place they feel most comfortable. Coaching sessions occur up to twice a week for 6 to 12 weeks. Within the sessions, an assessment is done to help identify the specific physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral needs of the young child. Team members will give parents materials and tools to help them effectively manage difficult situations and build confidence in their parenting.
“The Outreach Program is the first-of-its-kind for this organization and we’re confident it will create a positive impact for families in need,” says Outreach Program Coordinator, Mary O. Kerrigan. “We understand the challenges that many parents with little to no resources face when raising a child. We are here to give a helping hand.”
The non-profit organization is in need of donations to expand the Outreach Program. Goals include raising $500,000 to expand and sustain the program for years to come. Donations can be made on their website at StepUpVentura.org.
Volunteers with a background in early childhood education and infant/toddler care are also needed. Step Up Ventura will train these volunteers, with the focus on helping reach more children in the region.
The Outreach Program launched at Tender Life Maternity Home in November, serving residents of Tender Life and City Center. For more information on how you can donate or volunteer, please visit StepUpVentura.org or call 665-3385.