Bienestar began its second cycle of Parents as Teachers program to provide a monthly parenting group accompanied with individualized home visits in October, 2012. Bienestar staff used the Foundational curriculum developed for parents with children from birth to three to teach parents how to foster their child’s cognitive and social development through interactive games, reading, socialization and nutrition. Parents learn how to interact with their child through play, implement positive discipline approaches and develop learning strategies with their child to start pre-school at a comparable level to other students.
One of the core values we share is the belief that “all young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.” http://www.parentsasteachers.org/about/what-we-do/visionmission-history
In October 2012 registration was opened to all families living in Bienestar apartments. Twenty-one families registered 24 children, ages one month to three and a half years, for the program. We ended the program with 18 families and 21 children and four caseworkers.
Parenting education groups were held in eleven sessions over the course of the year, meeting once a month to discuss topics that include child and brain development, stress, the importance of play, music play, how to read with your child, child abuse, discipline, potty training, first aid response, poison prevention, health and nutrition, cultural differences and the effects of parents’ upbringing on their parenting styles. One of the ideas we attempted to instill in parents is that they are their children’s first teachers which run contrary to a common cultural belief that the child’s school teacher is. Following the discussed topic, parents and their children engaged in a read aloud or music play activity with homemade instruments to show parents how this could be implemented in their homes.
Several community partners came to the monthly group to present on varying topics. Adriana Cañas, Outreach Coordinator with the Hillsboro Fire Department presented on child and brain development, Christina Cleary, ¡Salud! Services Community Outreach Nurse through Tuality Healthcare presented poison prevention and First Aid Response, and Martin Blasco, Outreach Librarian for Latino and Multicultural Services from the Washington County Cooperative Library Services, conducted family literacy training. From these partners, each family received a poison prevention kit, a First Aid kit, and books for reading at home.
In addition to the monthly parenting education group, families received a monthly, one hour home visit from bilingual/bicultural staff who were trained through Parents as Teachers to use the curriculum and implement during home visits. Elena Barreto attended a three day intensive home visit training and received certification in October 2012. Gracie Garcia and Karina Soriano attended a three day home visit training and two day training to become affiliated with Parents as Teachers in March 2013. Maria Hidalgo was hired in June 2013 for additional support.
Overarching themes that were discussed during the hourly home visits were family routines and environment, child and brain development, windows of opportunity, safety, attachment, goals, health and nutrition, sleep, temperament, discipline, and transitions. Each topic was customized for the age and need of the family. A parent-child activity was also done to teach parents what things they should be doing with their child to promote healthy child development. Milestones were discussed with parents to know what they should be noticing in their child and how to help them develop age-appropriate behaviors. Activities that could be done with parents and children, depending on their age, included tummy time, shapes, colors, building objects with things around the house, crawling, among others. A total of 121 home visits were provided throughout the year, including eight referrals to Community Action Head Start or Oregon Child Development Corporation, two to Early Intervention/Northwest Regional ESD, for speech, one referral for counseling to Washington County Community Counseling Services, and one for the Oregon Health Plan. Thirty food boxes from the Murray Hills Christian Church were also distributed throughout the year to families who needed them.
The parenting group helped create community among the families that live in the Bienestar apartments and support each other when staff was unavailable. During the support groups children also learned to play and engage with one another in a positive manner. On the last day of the program, as the mothers were taking their post-test, their children were coloring and playing with each other. Staff was impressed with how well the children played together compared to the beginning of the year. Only one minor conflict arose in which one of the girls took a puzzle piece from two others who were building it together. Despite staff’s attempt to intercede, it was the three girls that resolved the conflict on their own by asking politely if they could have the puzzle piece back. The girls’ behavior and ability to resolve the conflict on their own is a testament to their parents for working patiently and diligently with them throughout the year to teach them positive ways to solve their problems. This is a clear sign of how much of a difference one year of this program can make in the lives of these families.
Thank you to all those who contributed to the program to make it a success. We would especially like to thank all the parents who attended the program with their children and worked with them to teach them and mold them into incredible human beings.
A Parents as Teachers pre-test was given in November 2012 to test parents’ knowledge of child development. Nineteen parents took the pre-test and scored an average of 63%. The topics on the pre-test were discussed throughout the year during the monthly support groups and home visits. The post-test was administered in October 2013; eighteen parents took the post-test, scoring an average of 91%, increasing their score by 28%. Parents mentioned in the last group meeting that they learned a great deal about how to play and read with their child and they could make up stories based on the pictures in the book if the books were in English. Parents enjoyed learning about child developmental stages and milestones. They also liked community presenters speaking about different topics. Parents mentioned they would like for the program to continue and if it did to have more presenters, more group sessions and would like more than one home visit a month.
Now for the fourth year, Bienestar offered Summer Lunch and Fun to the children of our multi-family housing properties and the community at large during the summer of 2013. With support from the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and the Hillsboro School District, we served a total of 3,164 lunches at two program sites; Sunset Gardens and Montebello, both located in Hillsboro, Oregon.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established by the USDA to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet Federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children under 18 years old at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.
The Summer Lunch and Fun program at Bienestar was operated Monday to Friday, June 17 through August 16. Lunch was served from 12:00 to 12:30 PM.
Before receiving their lunch, children first washed their hands. Afterward, they would be given their lunch which consisted of fruit, vegetable and a cookie alongside the main meal. The children could choose between chocolate or regular milk, however, lunch provided no choice. To prevent food from going to waste, a sharing basket was available where children had the opportunity to place food that they didn’t want.
After lunch, was an activity time which took place from 12:45 to 2:30. An average of 18 children participated per day. Every day of the week had a specific topic: reading, culture, arts and crafts, and physical activity. Each week also included a “community day” where different organizations from the community came out and did an activity with the kids. Participating organizations include local fire and police departments, the library, and the zoo.
The weekly themes included:
The Summer Lunch and Fun program is one that is very interactive with the kids and one that we have found to have had a positive impact on summer reading for many of our children. Not only are young kids able to receive a tasty free and healthy meal, they are able to meet some of the members of their community and become more aware of different cultures. By having dedicated reading days implemented throughout the week in a fun and educational atmosphere we are able to nourish their imagination, reading and discussion skills. The different themes allowed us to include a wide variety of cultures in the curriculum that introduced the kids to global thinking and inclusivity.
Bienestar Homework Club Outcome Report:
Montebello, Sunset Gardens, Reedville, Jose Arciga, and Elm Park September– December 2012 Term 1, 2012-2013 School Year
In September 2012, Bienestar opened its doors to 116 eager students for the 2012-2013 Homework Club year. This year we have five apartment complexes hosting Homework Club: Montebello, Sunset Gardens, Reedville, Jose Arciga, and Elm Park. The students enrolled in Homework Club live at the Montebello, Sierra West, Sunset Gardens, Reedville, Jose Arciga I and II, Jose Echeverría, Willow Park, and Elm Park apartments, located from Aloha to Forest Grove. Homework Club was held in the community rooms from 3:30 – 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in accordance with the Hillsboro and Forest Grove school district calendar. Thank you to our generous funders, without your support we would not be able to hold Homework Club for our resident youth: Bank of America, The City of Forest Grove, The Forest Grove School District, The Irwin Foundation, The Standard, The Jackson Foundation, and Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust.
Registration began mid August for all students from first to sixth grade living in Bienestar apartments. Students had to turn in their report card from the previous year to secure a place in Homework Club. Each student who registered was given a backpack with materials to start their new year at school. The backpacks were collected from various donors through Hands On Portland with Kaylen Miller taking the lead on collecting and filling them with a team of volunteers. A special thanks to Hands On Portland and all those who donated, gathered and put together the backpacks and materials; the students and their families were very appreciative of this act of kindness.
Gracie Garcia and Elena Barreto met with five out of the six principals of the schools the students attend to talk about the Bienestar Homework Clubs and elicit their help throughout the year, as needed. Thank you to the teachers we have been in contact with thus far, for your help and dedication to the students’ learning and success. All Homework Club coordinators and assistants were also given training on classroom management and teaching techniques to run a smoother and more efficient Homework Club. Thank you to Herb Jahncke, a teacher from Catlin Gabel for taking the time to engage the staff in questions and advice.
In each Homework Club, students were given the opportunity to create their own list of rules for the classroom and all students signed a large poster board agreeing to follow the rules. A meeting was also held with all the parents to explain the rules and expectations for the year. The parents were given the guidelines to go over with their children at home and sign that they agree and will abide by the guidelines. Parents were also given an anonymous survey to inform staff how they feel about how homework club is running and if they have any feedback.
Homework Club continued with the same activity schedule used in previous years: snack time, homework time, reading, activity time, and clean up. This year a new science and arts and crafts curriculum was introduced during activity time to give Homework Club more structure and enhance learning opportunities for the students. Once a week the students engage in an arts and crafts project and the other day a science experiment. Staff developed these activities to last about 30 minutes. Some of the projects included personal nametags, origami, and many of the projects were holiday related such as decorative skeletons and turkeys, Día de los Muertos skulls, ornaments, and cards. Some of the science experiments included mixing oil, water and food coloring; making constellations; testing your dominant side; mixing baking soda and vinegar; exploring living and non-living things; and static electricity. Throughout the experiment staff and volunteers encouraged students to make observations and think about what is happening during the experiment, why they think it is happening and to write or draw about it. The students enjoyed the science experiments, particularly the messy ones, and are slowly learning about how their world works.
The students had the opportunity to use the computer labs to complete their homework and research information. Staff and volunteers were flexible with the daily routine, giving students the time necessary to complete their homework and use enrichment worksheets and workbooks, in math and writing to work on when they did not have homework. The Forest Grove School District got a new reading curriculum and donated all of their unused books and workbooks to Bienestar. Thanks to this, many of our students have reading workbooks to work out of when needed. The students were responsible when completing their homework and focused during reading time. Students could choose to read on their own, in pairs, or in groups and take turns listening to each other.
Staff and volunteers supported students by answering questions about homework. Volunteers also helped the students with their math and reading by asking questions about what they had read to help the students develop comprehension, vocabulary, and reading fluency.
Students were given incentives to act responsibly and kindly toward other students, staff and volunteers. Kindness tickets were handed out to students who were cooperative, helped someone in the classroom, and were kind to others. After receiving five kindness tickets the student could choose a prize. Once the group as a whole received 30 kindness tickets they could vote on an idea for a small party to celebrate their accomplishments.
The last day of homework club, students were able to decorate holiday cookies the staff and a group of volunteers baked for them. They had a lot of fun decorating the cookies with icing and sprinkles! The students were also given a book to take home for the holidays thanks to a donation from Bazillion Books.
The year began with 24 students at Montebello, 26 students at Sunset Gardens, 22 students at Reedville, 24 students at Jose Arciga, and 20 students at Elm Park. Three students from Reedville were unable to complete the term because they moved out of the apartment complex. The remainder of the students attended 91% of the time. Many of the absences were due to doctor’s appointments, or clubs and conferences at school the students participate in. At Sunset Gardens, three students failed to appear at Homework Club and one of spaces was then given to another student to attend. Students attended 90% of the time and absences were due to doctor’s appointments and other excused absences. Elm Park’s attendance was also 90% for this term. Many of the absences were also due to illness or doctor’s appointments, and one student moved out of the apartments towards the end of the term.
Attendance at Jose Arciga this term was roughly 85%. Absences were caused by sickness, and other excused causes. One student left because she was unable to come to Homework Club consistently and two students moved out of Bienestar apartments within the first month of Homework Club, however, four students joined in the middle of November. At Montebello, students attended 85% of the time. Absences were caused by catechism classes, sickness, doctor appointments, and other excused causes. One student left Homework Club to participate in a tutoring program provided by her school, while two students joined in the middle of December and are excited to be a part of Homework Club.
Bienestar is grateful to all of the volunteers who helped work with the children and Make Home Club possible. Volunteers came from Pacific University and Hands On Portland, PCC Rock Creek, and Catlin Gabel High School to help make Homework Club a success. Thank you to our volunteers Martin Hill and Daniela Torres from Jose Arciga; Valerie Huang, Ana Alejo, Lorena Salazar, Lisa Griffen, Magali Villaverde, Dee Montague, Sheryl Willis, and Roberto Villa and his team of Catlin Gabel teachers and students for helping at Reedville; Adriana Costanzo, Dana Cartensen, Savannah Danko, Hannah Chase, and Katya Gibson at Montebello; Jessica Blaske, Ruben Garcia, Marianne Monson, and Amber Morgan at Sunset Gardens; and Leah Klaas, Jorge Andrade, and Jorge Zurita at Elm Park. Thank you all for your consistent and positive presence this term, Homework Club would not run as smoothly without you. A special thank you to the Homework Club coordinator assistants for their incredible dedication to the program and students: Paula Green, Olivia Vance, Karina Soriano, and Jorge Tello. Finally, thank you to our generous funders: Bank of America, The City of Forest Grove, The Forest Grove School District, The Irwin Foundation, The Standard, The Jackson Foundation, and Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust.
Four out of the five homework clubs had a decrease in GPA this term. This is due in large part to summer learning loss. The majority of our students return to school after three months of not practicing reading, writing, or math. Returning to a new classroom environment, a new teacher, and new grade material takes time to get accustomed to. The teachers and students learn about each other throughout the first term and how the other works and functions inside the classroom. The same is true for the Homework Club classroom. The students begin learning the skills they will need to know to succeed in their current grade. Returning for the second term the students know what they are coming back to and are more comfortable with their environment. The teachers also know how the students learn and are better equipped to support them academically.
Grades Outcome for Reedville
The net improvement for Term 1 was a decrease of .05; 12 students had a positive net improvement and 5 had a negative net improvement. The overall GPA of the students at Reedville also decreased by .10 (Term 3= 2.12; Term 1= 2.02), 9 students GPA decreased and 8 increased. Three students increased their homework grade classification from “Inconsistent” or “Usually Consistent” to “Consistent” while 4 decreased from “Consistent” to “Usually Consistent” or “Inconsistent”. Please see the attached report card analysis chart for a thorough examination and explanation of grades.
Grades Outcome for Elm Park
The net improvement for Term 1 was an increase of .41; five students had a negative net improvement and 12 had a positive net improvement although the overall GPA of the students at Elm Park decreased by 0.13 (Term 3= 3.33; Term 1= 3.20), seven students GPA increased while 10 decreased. For homework, six students kept the same homework grade from last term which was “Outstanding” and five students with “Satisfactory.” Four students dropped from “Outstanding” to “Satisfactory” but two students increase from “Satisfactory” to “Outstanding.” Please see the attached report card analysis chart for a thorough examination and explanation of grades.
Grades Outcome for Sunset Gardens
The net improvement for Term 1 was an increase of .30; ten students had a negative net improvement, ten had a positive net improvement and three students have modified instruction, therefore, net improvement is not accounted for. The overall GPA of the students at Sunset Gardens increased by .30 (Term 3= 3.09; Term 1= 3.12), 11 students GPA increased while 11 decreased. For homework, five students had the same homework grade from last term which was “Consistent” and four were “Usually Consistent.” Seven students went down from “Consistent” to “Usually Consistent” or “Inconsistent” and one more from “Usually Inconsistent” to “Inconsistent.” However, four increased from “Usually Consistent” to “Consistent” and one from “Inconsistent” to “Usually Consistent.” One of the students received an “Interferes with his Leaning” grade and has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) to accommodate his learning. Please see the attached report card analysis chart for a thorough examination and explanation of grades.
Grades Outcome for Jose Arciga
The net improvement for Term 1 was a decrease of 2.86; 7 students had a positive net improvement and 14 had a negative net improvement. One student had no net improvement. The overall GPA of the students at Jose Arciga also decreased by .20 (Term 3= 3.07; Term 1= 2.87), 15 students’ GPA decreased and 7 increased. Two students increased their homework grade classification from “Inconsistent” to “Usually Consistent” or “Consistent,” while 6 decreased from “Consistent” to “Usually Consistent,” “Consistent” to “Inconsistent,” or “Usually Consistent” to “Inconsistent”. Two students maintained their homework grade at “Consistent,” while 3 maintained their grade at “Usually Consistent.” We were unable to calculate the homework grade for nine students due to a lack of homework grade evaluation. Please see the attached report card analysis chart for a thorough examination and explanation of grades.
Grades Outcome for Montebello
The net improvement for Term 1 was a decrease of 2; 6 students had a positive net improvement and 12 had a negative net improvement, and 2 students had no net improvement. The overall GPA of the students at Montebello also decreased by .35 (Term 3= 3.04; Term 1= 2.69), 15 students’ GPA decreased and 5 increased. Two students increased their homework grade classification from “Usually Consistent” to “Consistent,” while 10 decreased from “Consistent” to “Usually Consistent,” or “Usually Consistent” to “Inconsistent.” Six students maintained their homework grade at “Consistent,” while one maintained their grade at “Usually Consistent.” We were unable to calculate the homework grade for two students due to a lack of previous homework grade evaluation. We were also unable to calculate the overall GPA equivalent and the Net Improvement in Subjects for two students due to the students’ participation in modified instruction. Please see the attached report card analysis chart for a thorough examination and explanation of grades.
Elena Barreto, Ana Osborn, and Javier Urenda
Homework Club Coordinators
Born to Learn, which uses the nationally accredited Parents as Teachers curriculum, is one of the most important youth programs implemented at Bienestar to date. The program provides upstream support to promote the cognitive development of low-income, Latino children through coaching families with newborns and toddlers about the importance of interactive play, socialization, nutrition, and reading with their children.
Born to Learn is the crucial first step that sets the foundation of Listos Para Vida, a program designed to help low-income, Latino children of farmworkers be healthy and happy, achieve academic success, gain self-sufficiency and move out of poverty. The need to incorporate Born to Learn became evident when the instructors at our local Head Start programs reported that the children of Bienestar families were already "behind the curve" at the age of 3. This lag in skills can handicap children throughout their school career, and lives. Therefore it was essential that Bienestar take action.
The adults in the Bienestar community have an average educational level of just the 7th grade, and while they understand the importance of an education, they are not prepared to support the necessary cognitive development of their toddlers, giving them a strong start, without proper coaching. By participating in Born to Learn, parents learn effective ways to interact with their children from a very young age such as interactive games and activities. Methods to encourage language development, learning about numbers, shapes, and to foster language and reading readiness in their infant or toddler are also taught. A principle idea the program tries to instill in the parents is that they themselves are their children's first teachers, contrary to cultural belief that only school teachers are legitimate teachers.
24 children, ages one month to three and a half years from 21 families were registered for Born to Learn in October 2012. This is an increase of 13 more children than the previous program cycle. Parenting support groups are held once a month to discuss topics such as child and brain development, stress, the importance of play, music, reading, the difference between abuse and discipline, cultural differences, and how the upbringing of the parents' affects them now. Following the discussion topic, an activity is done with the parents and children, typically story read aloud or music game to show parents how the lesson can be implemented on their own.
In addition to the monthly parenting support groups, families receive a monthly, one hour home visit from bilingual/bicultural staff that have been trained through Parents as Teachers to use the curriculum and implement during home visits. Overarching themes that will be discussed during the hourly home visits will be family routines and environment, child and brain development, safety, attachment, goals, health and nutrition, sleep, temperament, discipline, and transitions. Each of these topics will be catered to the age and need of the family. We are grateful to our funders of this program: Bank of America, Portland Women's Foundation, City of Hillsboro.
This summer, Bienestar is kicking our youth program offerings into high gear, offering a wide variety of daily programs to the children of farm workers and low-income working families to help them stay engaged and healthy.
The "summer slide" is a real issue that Bienestar children face and which we see in our Homework Club each fall when children return to school behind where they left off in June. Bienestar youth programs attempt to counter this trend by providing activities every weekday where kids can learn, play, create, eat healthy food, and interact with other children and adults in a stimulating environment - rather than sitting at home in front of the TV or computer.
Summer Lunch and Fun began June 21st, and provides approximately 125 lunches and 2 hours of activities Monday through Friday for the children of Bienestar and the Hillsboro community. A full calendar of events and activities include visits from the police department, owl pellet dissection, soccer, basketball, reading contests, and even the opportunity to hold snakes and other small animals when Zoo to You came to visit.
Now for the third year in a row, PlayWrite has provided an outlet for Bienestar teens to express personal issues and concerns through theater. The young writers are encouraged to draw from personal experiences, and create conflict and dialog to breathe life into nonhuman characters to tell their stories which are then acted out by professional actors. “In one play, a young leaf wants to see the world, but is worried about losing his connection to the tree. In another, an apple struggles to climb up a hill, needing the help of an unwilling pencil” says Andrea Castillo, writer for the Oregonian.
A basic Music Class was provided for the children of Bienestar’s Elm Park Apartments in forest Grove. Using recorders, the children learned rhythm, notes, fingering and how to read music. After the six week course, which met once a week, a recital was held in which Beethoven and Mary Had a Little Lamb delighted parents, staff, and the community.
Eight children ages 6 through 10 participated in Computer Club at the Sunset Garden Apartments. Here, the children learned basic computer operations such as how to use a mouse and keyboard, internet safety and essential Microsoft programs such as Word and PowerPoint. The class culminated with PowerPoint presentation in which the children demonstrated their new skills and interests. Erick Pedroza, a shy eight year old who came to the first class crying, pushed by his mother, was the first one to stand up and proudly do his presentation.
Explorador Camp, in partnership with the Audubon Society of Portland, will begin this August and give 100 children the opportunity to experience nature and local natural areas such as Jackson Bottom Wetlands, The Audubon Society of Portland’s Sanctuary, Hagg Lake and The Oregon Coast. This program is one of Bienestar’s most popular programs and the highlight of the summer for many of our young residents.
As you can see, summer is a busy time at Bienestar! We appreciate the support of the GlobalGiving Community and look forward to sharing more program outcomes this fall with the generous funders of Listos Para Vida.
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