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Franklin South Early Childhood Services

We will build a fun, engaging neighborhood culture that supports low-income families in setting their children on a successful path.

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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

Our idea has experienced three fundamental evolutionary elements over the course of the Prize. First, our understanding has increased of how critical it is to establish strong social connections between neighbors, and between parents and providers, in the early childhood space. When parents feel comfortable with each other and with providers, their sense of unity helps them open up about their challenges. Without this openness, we cannot hope to receive honest input from parents that truly identifies their concerns. Second, we now recognize that we need to have a “next-step” for parents in everything we do. Without this, there is great potential for parents to stagnate and we could lose our momentum. For example, we have decided to have Community Family Baby Showers feed directly into Community Cafés. Parents will learn about the Cafés and sign up to participate at the showers. Community Cafés will be held monthly, and will fall on the Friday following the Family Baby Shower. This will give parents an immediate, concrete opportunity to connect with each other and with providers again. Engaging parents in developmental screenings at the Family Baby Showers will also immediately link them into the Help Me Grow system. A Parent Support Specialist from Help Me Grow will contact them in the days following to connect them with resources for any concerns the screening may have identified. We will continue planning our flow of parent engagement to perpetuate this work and prevent stagnation. Third, we need to create a space that is welcoming of all parents—both mothers and fathers. We have brainstormed ideas for how to involve fathers more, and are excited that two fathers have joined our Community Café. With their input, we have focused on creating very well-rounded, family-focused opportunities. On the most fundamental level, this led us to change the name of our Community Baby Showers to Community Family Baby Showers to fit this new approach.

Name or Organization

United Way of Central and Southern Utah (aka United Way of Utah County) The Early Childhood Subcommittee, our collaborators on this project, consists of local leaders from the following organizations: - Utah County Health Department - Care about Childcare - Provo School District - WIC - Help Me Grow Utah - South Franklin Community Center - Utah State Extension Services - Mountainland Headstart - Maternal Mental Health Collaborative - Parent Advocacy Council


Provo, UT—We will implement our idea in the Franklin South Neighborhood in Provo.

What is your stage of development?

  • Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD


  • Non-profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Parents are the greatest influencers in a child’s life. Over years of early childhood work, however, we have observed parents engaging less and less with supportive services. This is concerning in Franklin South, where innate challenges confront families daily. We are determined to reverse this trend by creating an inviting neighborhood culture that supports parents from the child’s earliest stages. As parents personally connect to each other, their community, and service providers, they will trust information and resources and become proactive in their families, naturally leading to success.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Network: Connecting people with each other to enhance the reach or effectiveness of new or existing resources.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Twenty-nine percent of Utah’s children who are in poverty will remain in poverty as adults. Unfortunately, we have observed parents engaging less and less with supportive services in recent years, a problem that only grows in Franklin South. Barriers in language, transportation, inadequate insurance or income, and social isolation perpetuate this disparity. With the right support, however, parents can set their children on a trajectory for success regardless of socioeconomic status. Our early childhood movement aims to transform Franklin South into a support network for parents with children from the prenatal stages through age three. This network will surround parents with information, friendships, and resources in a clear, accessible, and fun context. As parents feel supported, their ability to help their children meet developmental milestones and prepare to begin school on time, ready to learn will blossom and grow. Our community is rich in early childhood supports, though they are not always presented to parents in a way that really engages them. Experience has taught us that parents are most receptive to information in a social context; for this reason, we have built the South Franklin Community Center over the past 11 years to facilitate friendships between neighbors. With this social capital, we intend to harness the strengths of preexisting, evidence-based community supports and utilize the Community Center as a fun, engaging forum in which parents can access them.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Franklin South is the lowest income neighborhood in Utah County and over a third of residents are children. Chronic poverty creates a variety of barriers that limit local parents’ access to education and support to help their children thrive. As a result, many children enter elementary school behind and continue to struggle over time; a mere 31% of students score proficiently on standardized testing at neighborhood schools. Unfortunately, these challenges often result in high school dropout.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

What We Will Do: We aim to enrich the Franklin South neighborhood into an environment that is safe and supportive for its youngest members by supporting parents. We will offer support in a fun and engaging format, conveniently located at the South Franklin Community Center. How We Will Do It: Since its beginning in a one room apartment, the Community Center has blossomed into a hub of opportunities that locals know about, use, and trust. In 2017, the Community Center expanded from 14 to 18 programs, and from four to nine family events. 80% of programs saw an increase in participants, with over 75% of them attending 2+ unique programs or activities. With growing participation, the Community Center provides an ideal framework for supporting families with young children. Through focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one conversations with parents, we have pinpointed the following needs that have fundamentally shaped our efforts to support early childhood in Franklin South: - Clear, basic information on healthy child development and why it matters; - Simple, research-based activities that they can do at home to help their children grow; - A comfortable social network of parents with whom they can exchange parenting ideas and problem solve, - And connections to community resources that support their children’s unique needs. Based on these needs, we created the Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership in August 2016. Our partnership is comprised of key community providers with years of collaborative experience together. As a partnership, we have determined that one of the best ways we can make a strong impact is through a targeted, unique approach to meeting needs in Franklin South. The partnership includes an Early Childhood Subcommittee designed to hone in on the needs of Franklin South’s youngest residents. The subcommittee has pinpointed specific evidence-based community supports for both physical and cognitive development of young children, as well as for other needs that may surround a child such as maternal physical and mental health or family income and functioning. These services—including home visits, early intervention programs, nurses, financial support, developmental screenings, school readiness, childcare, breastfeeding support, WIC, etc.—have been key community influencers for years, but have not collaborated as intensively as they could. We intend to build these preexisting resources into a coordinated network that will be ready to respond quickly and efficiently to the needs in Franklin South. We will take the impact to the next level by aligning goals, objectives, information/materials, data tracking, and evaluation methods across service providers. These providers will mutually sponsor fun and informative family events called Community Family Baby Showers to get parents “through the gate.” As an alternative to traditional parenting classes, we have designed these events around the idea that families like to have fun, and will be more receptive to information when it is presented to them in a format that they enjoy. We will model these events after a system we developed years ago called Books, Blocks, and Balls, which has been used both locally and nationally, and is designed to increase awareness and use of early childhood developmental screenings by engaging families in play. In addition to promoting developmental screenings, Community Family Baby Showers will also help parents learn easy, at-home activities that they can do with their young children, along with the “why” behind them. They will also help parents connect to each other and to community resources. All of these opportunities will be presented to families using games, prizes, and take-home materials, making the experience fun and increasing their likelihood of participating again in the future. After the initial hook, the partnership will work as a team to provide ongoing activities, events, and services that continually engage parents in early childhood opportunities, including intensive follow-up to ensure that families truly connect to them. We will provide as many opportunities as possible at the Community Center, offering families support where they live, in a format that is both social and trustworthy. What We Will Achieve: The South Franklin Community Center will provide a fun, comfortable, and convenient setting in which local families can access all early childhood supports. Our efforts will facilitate parents and caregivers in connecting to one another, and will also bridge the gap between clients and providers. Ultimately, as parents become educated and feel supported in their role, they will in turn create a safe, supportive home environment for their young children to grow in. This environment will ensure that children reach all appropriate developmental milestones well before they begin school, and will also increase their likelihood of success as they grow older.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Our Beneficiaries: We will serve Franklin South families with children ages 0-3. Though we have seen local progress since the South Franklin Community Center’s establishment, varying challenges still abound. These especially affect children who struggle physically, academically, and socially when subject to poverty. How They Will Benefit: Our model will provide parents with a support network of professionals and peers throughout their children’s early years. For example, families will have the opportunity to participate in playgroup and receive home visits from certified nurses. Studies show that playgroups give parents opportunities to share experiences, enhance self-esteem, validate parenting skills and ideas, and provide a sense of belonging. In 2017, 99% of playgroup parents reported gaining friendships there. Research also shows that home visits break down social isolation, a proven risk factor for child abuse, and enhance cognitive and behavioral development in children. These are only a few of the many benefits that Franklin South families will gain from early childhood services. Our Experience: We have worked with Franklin South residents for 11 years, steadily building participation at the Community Center. Now, not only do people attend, but they increasingly seek our staff as a trusted support system. We have seen many people choose to seek additional community resources outside of the Community Center based on our encouragement despite previous hesitation.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

The South Franklin Community Center’s primary goal is to lift locals out of poverty and break the poverty cycle for future generations. The early childhood movement will play a critical role in this work by empowering parents to set their young children on a trajectory for lifelong success. Research reveals that the environment and experiences of a child’s early years shape the brain’s development. These include relationships with adult caregivers, nutrition, physical environment, etc.—all of which affect lifelong learning, behavior, and physical and mental health, whether positively or negatively. From birth, a person’s ability to thrive depends on these relationships/experiences and how healthy, supportive, and responsive they are. Franklin South families face many innate challenges that threaten a young child’s ability to flourish. However, through the Early Childhood Subcommittee’s work, we will empower parents with tools to create an environment conducive to healthy brain development, leading to greater lifelong success. Additionally, when adults model responsive relationships for their children, the benefits come full-circle by ultimately helping children become healthy, responsive parents themselves down the road. As families strengthen and children grow, we believe the culture of the Franklin South neighborhood will shift along with them, and as time goes on, the transitional families that land here will all benefit from the neighborhood’s supportive environment.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

In Utah, 250,000 children are under age five, 38% live in poverty (US Census, 2015), and 29% are at risk to remain in poverty as adults (Utah Intergenerational Poverty Report, 2017). This puts Utah County in a particularly vulnerable position, given that we have the highest birthrate in the nation and that one in ten of our residents are under age five. Franklin South families are no better off, with one-third of their residents under age 18 and half of them in poverty. The stressors of poverty can often lead to the abuse, neglect, and other household challenges—or “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs). ACEs is a longitudinal study that found a direct relationship between adverse childhood experiences and negative health outcomes later in life. Poverty also often hinders brain development in children (JAMA Pediatrics, 2015). However, when parents have a sound knowledge of parenting skills and child development, they can combat these negative outcomes by setting their children on a positive trajectory during their early years. This needs to be a focus in Franklin South, where many children are in situations that put them at risk for negative outcomes. Our efforts will create a community in which parents and their young children can thrive by providing education, resources, and support through a trusted social network.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)

Our concept for the early childhood movement in Franklin South is innovative because we are implementing a new method for engaging with local parents. In order to truly engage with parents, we know that three fundamentals must be in place: • Social Norming: Everyone must feel that participation in early childhood activities and behaviors is normal and important. When families see their neighbors and friends attending family events, participating in Community Cafés, completing developmental screenings, receiving resources and services for their children, and more, they will naturally follow along because it’s the “normal” thing to do, and it’s a good idea for helping their children. • Partnerships: We need strong partnerships between early childhood providers. If we are not all on the same page, parents will get mixed messages that lead to confusion and disillusionment with “the system.” When providers align their messaging and refer families between themselves to ensure they receive the correct services, parents will benefit from the simplicity and accuracy of the support. • Delivery: We must provide information to parents in a format that they will really want to connect to. This is why we are putting so much emphasis on a fun, social context; even information of highest quality will not matter to most parents if they do not find it interesting. We know we already have great early childhood products in our community. Utah County has been a leader in early childhood and parent engagement both statewide and on a national scale for years. Our innovation comes into play with our method for delivering those products to children from the prenatal stages to age three. The key lies in the parents. We have created a model that parents want to be engaged in, based on ideas that they have provided directly to us themselves. We are utilizing fun as our primary education tool, based on the Books, Blocks, and Balls model that Barbara Leavitt wrote. We created the South Franklin Community Center with a top priority of bringing neighbors together and providing them with opportunities to take ownership. As parents find success in their own homes, they will normalize these important early childhood behaviors, inviting others to follow in their footsteps. Our Community Café/Parent Advocacy Council model will also allow them to become mentors and leaders within the early childhood space. Through this platform, parents will have the opportunity to become change agents not only for their own families, but for their community as a whole. Though our work in Franklin South is extremely important, it is not in fact the end goal. Our partners are focusing on the Franklin South neighborhood, but they still work within the greater community and they want to see amazing things happen everywhere. Our work in early childhood in Franklin South is innovate because it will act as a pilot for early childhood work throughout our entire county, and possibly even statewide or nationally.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Utah County is growing rapidly, raising concerns about the number of children entering school unprepared to learn. Community and school district leaders frequently contact us for help with early childhood development, school readiness, and intergenerational poverty in high-risk neighborhoods and schools. These are valid concerns considering a person’s development by age three greatly predicts their life’s trajectory, and 38% of Utah’s children live in poverty with 29% likely to remain in poverty as adults. With this in mind, we are experimenting with the South Franklin Community Center to find an effective way to network partners and reach families, writing manuals, policies, and procedures so that, eventually, other communities can implement our ideas for their own needs. We hope to expand our reach from one neighborhood to various areas throughout our county or even statewide, as we have done with other ideas in the past. We also plan to create a Community Family Baby Shower Kit to sell to other communities, using proceeds to cover product development and distribution costs. We foresee two predominant barriers to scaling. First, communities must understand that implementing a new program requires spending. Second, we are able to implement this system because we have already laid groundwork through years of collaboration in Franklin South. This requires a long-term commitment of time and resources which communities may not have in place or be willing to prioritize.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

We believe our idea has strong feasibility. The community at-large has a vested interest in the Franklin South and varying entities have partnered over the years to positively impact the area. Our partners live, work, and raise their families in Utah County, and exhibit a strong local commitment by continuing programs that other counties have discontinued due to lack of funding, solely because of their resourcefulness and persistence. Our Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership has met regularly for 1.5 years now, even with limited funding. We see a clear pathway to implementing the early childhood project because it is an enhancement of preexisting services in our community. Beyond initial contributions for the Community Family Baby Showers, we will make simple adjustments to align and focus our partners’ work in Franklin South. Providers are invested because the area is a difficult demographic to penetrate, and this project will help everyone reach residents more effectively, as well as enable us to eventually reach additional clients in other areas. Our partners are prepared to make technical adjustments including shared data collection and analysis, cross-referrals, and more to perpetuate the project. We also have the South Franklin Community Center in place with years of strategic planning, program development, and strong community buy-in. The building itself exhibits our community’s ability to make amazing progress through collaboration. Provo City funded construction and continues to fund capital improvements and rent. The Provo Housing Authority retained the building architect and funded the design. Habitat for Humanity built the center, and the Boulders apartment complex, where the Community Center is located, pays for utilities, snow removal, and general maintenance. Provo City Police Department has helped resolve criminal elements in the area and provides crime prevention and safety training to people living and working there. Google Fiber provided the Community Center’s computer lab, local universities and faith-based groups have provided volunteers and interns, and a variety of other public and private partners have provided classes, volunteers, and additional support over the years. These contributions enabled a very expensive project to be accomplished at a significantly lower expense, making the impossible a reality. We consistently seek funding for our projects and have secured some support for our partnership. However, financial sustainability is an area where we would like additional guidance as we move forward with this project. Operationally, United Way will continue to coordinate South Franklin Community Center programs and development, oversee strategic planning and volunteerism, and engage the neighborhood in services through the course of this project and as time goes on. Our current staff also exhibit commitment to the Community Center’s growth and a strong ability to implement new projects and processes.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)

Well-meaning community events for parents and families often face the same challenges over and over again. Sometimes they simply do not get good attendance, and sometimes they fail to make a real difference in parents’ lives because they do not lead to changes in thought or behavior. Though they may have recreational merit, one-time events that do not truly engage participants or provide follow-up opportunities can only take families so far. In contrast, ours is a grassroots effort to make real change for parents and young children in the Franklin South neighborhood, and the following key elements make our business model viable: The Target Population: We already have buy-in at the South Franklin Community Center among local residents, with attendance and participation increasing rapidly. Participants receive regular emails and Facebook posts about Community Center activities, and we are getting to the point where if we build it, people will come. Not to mention, the majority of families who attend the Community Center have children under age eight, and many families already participate in services that target the early childhood age range of 0-3. Community Support: We have a solid foundation of community support for the early childhood movement in Franklin South through the Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership. The Community Center has also drawn attention from providers and volunteers recently more than ever, with groups frequently pitching program ideas to our Community Center Director. We believe that, as time goes on, we will continue to accumulate support from these groups and local businesses who will see the benefits of sponsoring our events due to such great participation from Franklin South residents, which has proven a very difficult market to penetrate. The Format: We have done our homework through focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one conversations to determine what Franklin South parents need and how best to meet those needs. With this groundwork in place, we will entice parents to show up to early childhood events by making them fun and social, and will engage them in parenting and resource education with games and prizes. We will also keep educational components simple and hands-on so that parents can see how they can make a real difference for their children in everyday life, without a huge expense or learning curve. Through developmental screenings, parents will receive guidance on their children’s specific needs, and by coordinating local early childhood services, parents will also have a clear picture of all that is available to help their children. And, of course, families will be able to access all opportunities right across the street at the South Franklin Community Center. Expansion: As we hone our efforts and find success in Franklin South, we will eventually be able to create a replicable model for evolving neighborhoods into early childhood support systems. We already have areas seeking our assistance in this work, including Orem City and the Alpine School District. Once we have a model in place, we will be able to expand our reach to these and other high-needs areas of Utah County. One of the greatest barriers to this expansion is that implementing a new system always comes with an associated cost, whether it be time, staff, funding, or some other hurdle. To help communities plan ahead, we will develop and provide them with a projected budget that they must have in place before implementing the early childhood model. We will also provide them with the appropriate training and protocol to help them jumpstart the process.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)

Parents are the greatest experts and influencers for their children—greater than any program or system. With this understanding, we keep parents at the center of our early childhood movement in Franklin South. Over the past few years, we have concentrated our efforts to really pinpoint what parents want and need to help them optimally support their children. This information has fundamentally shaped our efforts to support early childhood in Franklin South. Through focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one conversations, local parents have guided us to understand their four distinct parenting needs: - Clear, basic information on healthy child development and why it matters; - Simple, research-based activities that they can do at home to help their children grow; - A comfortable social network of parents with whom they can exchange parenting ideas and problem solve, - And connections to community resources that support their children’s unique needs. To build upon our focus groups, surveys, and conversations, we convened a Community Café in Franklin South in November 2017, after months of advertising at family events to get parents signed up to participate. A Community Café is a series of six guided conversations among parents, based on the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, which is a research-informed approach to increasing family strengths, enhancing child development, and reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Through research, the Center for the Study of Social Policy has identified five “Protective Factors” which lend to these outcomes for families. The Protective Factors include: parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, social connections, social and emotional competence in children, and concrete supports in times of need. Community Cafés build leadership and partnership among parents, increase community wisdom, build parent voice, and facilitate action to improve children’s lives. The process is entirely designed, planned, and implemented by parents, in collaboration with community partners (in our case, the South Franklin Community Center). Once a Café has completed the six guided conversations, they continue collaborating to enact the changes they desire for their own families and for their neighbors. Community Café meetings last for 1.5 hours and include a simple dinner (pizza + water) and childcare for children up to age nine. Initially we held Community Cafés every other month, but at the last meeting, parents expressed a desire to meet more regularly. In response to this enthusiasm, we will now hold Community Cafés monthly. Parents can take Community Cafés to the next level by forming a Parent Advocacy Councils (PACs), which our Franklin South members plan to implement in the coming months now that they have solidified the Community Café model. PACs are a parent-designed model that incorporate four key elements to help parents find and use their voice in making significant progress in the community and in their own lives. These elements include: - Community “Pillars”—community providers/entities that work in the parenting and early childhood space - Deliberate, structured dialogue in the style of Community Cafés - Parent leadership—parents take ownership of the group and select two designated parent leaders to direct meetings, along with support from community providers (in our case, the South Franklin Community Center) - Protective Factors PACs generally follow a similar format to the Community Café, but add an important element by pulling community “pillars” into the discussion. For our Franklin South PAC, these pillars will consist of members of the Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership. At each PAC meeting, community pillars will present on the topic of the day (which PAC members will preselect) for a collective 30 minutes. Pillars will have the opportunity to ask questions of parents to gain a better understanding of their needs, and parents will also have the opportunity to ask questions so they can better understand local services available to them. Then the meeting will proceed like a Community Café, but with pillars and parents both participating in the discussion on a level playing field. Community Cafés and PACs and critical components of leveraging the Franklin South community to create a safe and engaging environment for young children living there. These models allow parents to guide service providers in structuring services for their benefit and truly empower them to become change agents in their own lives and in their community.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

United Way Community Impact Director Barbara Leavitt has worked in parent leadership, advocacy, and engagement for 30+ years. As a parent herself, Barb actively worked to support her fellow parents, beginning when she observed many of them feeling marginalized by their Los Angeles community where her children went to school. Barb organized an informal group for open dialogue on family concerns where they decided their children needed a safe playground at school. Because this was not a school district priority, they held a fundraiser event to build it themselves. Among the many contributors, one mother, a seamstress, made outfits to sell. A father who ran a taco stand provided dinner at reduced rates. Another father who worked as a party clown provided entertainment. All proceeds went to the playground. These parents had limited means, but with vision and unity, accomplished their goal of building a safe playground for their children. Barb later pursued a Master of Public Administration and began her career at United Way supervising a volunteer-run home visitation program. She created a playgroup and parent workshop curriculum and co-chaired an early childhood committee. She also implemented a national model called Help Me Grow in Utah County, expanding it by increasing parent engagement, creating Books, Blocks, and Balls, implementing Protective Factors, and building Parent Advocacy Councils. With her efforts, Help Me Grow went statewide in 2015 and has since grown exponentially. She has also worked with the Strengthening Families Framework for four years both in Utah and on the national team and created a Protective Factors curriculum for parents. Barb currently coordinates the Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership and oversees the Early Childhood Subcommittee. She has invested years in Franklin South and is excited about the growth opportunities of the early childhood movement. Years ago, Barb’s mother-in-law suffered a massive heart attack, rendering her strong, independent father-in-law inconsolable. At this time, Barb’s father offered advice that has since framed her perspective on support. He told her she could not give her father-in-law the help he needed, but her husband, his son, could. If she supported her husband, he would have the strength to support his father. Barb believes the same principle applies to children. Parents are the most influential forces in their children’s lives. As programs and services support parents in meeting life’s demands, parents will be able to help their children thrive. In our experience at United Way, we have learned that one of the most effective ways to create change is to educate and empower parents. We have designed many initiatives to work directly with parents to help them support their families, including Help Me Grow, Welcome Baby, Sub for Santa, 2-1-1, and others. Moving forward, we are committed to keeping parents and families at the heart of our organization’s work.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

Our Franklin South Neighborhood Partnership and the Early Childhood Subcommittee are made up of community partners who have been committed to the project for 1.5 years. We are also building partnerships with substance abuse and mental health services, home visitation programs, public health immunizations, childcare services, financial supports, breastfeeding supports, early intervention programs, and parent leaders to perpetuate our project. Moving forward, we would like to engage local libraries and businesses, public transportation, and additional childcare providers on a broader scale.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

As a partnership, we would greatly benefit from expertise in designing appropriate data measurement tools that can be implemented across sectors, and that that will allow us to gauge community wide progress without overburdening our clients and partners. We would also like direction on how to develop a long-term, comprehensive plan that can be replicated in multiple locations while still allowing communities to personalize the approach to meet their unique needs. This includes cost analysis, partnership building, and monitoring of outcomes.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

We would like mentoring on how to make a program more sustainable. This includes ideas for seeking and obtaining funding, as well as systematic ways to set up our programs and services so that they are more self-sustaining. We would also like mentoring on how to create a model that is replicable. Though we are working on this early childhood project in Franklin South, eventually we would like to expand it to other areas of our county and state. In addition, there are a variety of other projects we work on in the Franklin South neighborhood, and at United Way as a whole. We would like to learn more about how to take a successful project and implement the elements that made it successful into other projects, even if they pertain to a different subject matter.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

For current information on our efforts and accomplishments, feel free to visit our website and social media handles at the following links: • Website: • Facebook: • Twitter: • Instagram: • YouTube:

What is your stage of development?

  • Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD


  • Non - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Network: Connecting people with each other to enhance the reach or effectiveness of new or existing resources.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information
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Attachments (5)

Books Blocks and Balls Manual 2017.pdf

This manual outlines the Books, Blocks, and Balls model that we created to engage parents and children in developmental play, introduce them to developmental screenings, and connect them to early childhood information and resources. These events utilize community partners as a supportive structure for parents. Our Community Family Baby Showers will be closely modeled after this format.

Pregnancy Prep Time Brochure.pdf

Three different brochures that we developed based on parental input obtained through focus groups and surveys in order to help make them resonate more fully with parents.

Pregnancy Prep Time (Spanish) Brochure.pdf

Brochures that we developed based on parental input, translated into Spanish. We provide many of our materials in Spanish at the South Franklin Community Center where roughly 78% of patrons are of Hispanic origin, many of whom speak little or no English.

Play is the Path Brochure.pdf

A brochure that we developed to encourage parents of the importance of playing with their children. We developed this brochure based on parent input obtained through focus groups and surveys.

Books, Balls and Blocks Brochure.pdf

Through focus groups and surveys, parents conveyed to us that they want simple ideas of activities they can do at home with their children to encourage healthy development. With this in mind, we created this brochure to provide a few basic ideas and also inform them of Help Me Grow services, encouraging them to complete a developmental screening for their children.


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