The Rockland 21C ParentChild+ positively impacts the lives of under-resourced families with 2- and 3-year old children in Rockland County., like Nora and Luis Lopez and their two daughters, Maya and Arianna. Nora and Maya began ParentChild+ in October 2015 and graduated in June 2017 making significant gains along the way. Nora learned how to interact with Maya by reading, playing and talking to her, fostering growth in her vocabulary, creativity, school readiness skills, and confidence. Nora also became more self-assured, empowered to advocate for her family and knowledgeable about how to access information and community resources.
In October 2015 when they began ParentChild+, Maya was an outgoing, inquisitive 2-year old and Nora was a parent eager to gain skills and tools to support her daughter’s learning. Nora and her husband believe in the value of education and how it can open doors and provide opportunities for their children. It was clear from the start how much Nora enjoyed spending time with her daughter, their smiles, laughter and obvious enjoyment of each other during home visits. Their veteran Early Learning Specialist Miriam Lachenauer, has seen tremendous growth in this family over the last two years as Maya and Nora both blossomed during their participation in ParentChild+. Maya enjoyed reading books, acting out stories, playing with toys, and injecting her own creativity into the home visits. Nora especially enjoyed introducing art and drawing whenever possible, sharing her artistic talent with her daughter.
In January 2017 Nora secured a part-time job, which made it difficult for her to participate in the remaining 5 months of the Program. Rather than fitting in home visits sporadically or dropping out altogether Nora arranged for her mother, Maya’s grandmother, to participate in the home visits in her place. Nora made a point of explaining to her mother the importance of participating in the home visits by being involved and engaged with Maya and Miriam. Nora explained to her mother that Maya should sit on her lap or very near her during the home visits, that she should play with Maya and encourage her to be creative and read to Maya but allow her to explore the book. Nora’s instructions and guidance to her mother reflected not only how important she felt the Program was, but also how much she had absorbed over the previous year and a half. Nora’s grandmother, with the guidance of Miriam, did a great job participating in the last few months of the program and Maya continued to blossom.
In May of 2017, the Lopez family found a new place to live in Rockland County. They were able to rent a house in a very safe neighborhood, large enough to accommodate their extended family and in a wonderful school district. It even had a yard for the children to play in. Their Home Visitor, Miriam, connected Nora with the Family Resource Center Coordinator in their new school district who was able to secure a Universal Pre-K slot for Maya, so she could continue to build on the literacy, school readiness and social-emotional competencies already developed through ParentChild+. Due to Rockland 21C’s relationships with the school-based Family Resource Centers, it was able to link Nora and Maya to resources within their new school district they otherwise might not have been able to access.
Maya is now well positioned to thrive in pre-school and beyond. Nora is well poised to share all the skills she developed during the two years of ParentChild+ with her younger daughter, Arianna, and to continue to support Maya as she enters Kindergarten next year. Nora has been a wonderful ParentChild+ parent due to her desire to learn, her commitment and dedication to her children as well as to the Program. Rockland 21C is hopeful that Nora can become part of the Rockland 21C ParentChild+ family, potentially working as an early learning specialist and translator in the future. This family reflects the incredible impact ParentChild+ and Rockland 21C have on Rockland County families. The Lopez family epitomizes the ParentChild+ trajectory – participating in ParentChild+, graduating from ParentChild+ and then helping to share ParentChild+ with other families just like them.