Early childhood development
Way to Grow
WTG addresses the diverse challenges facing children most at risk for low school achievement and empowers parents to help their child succeed in school. WTG serves diverse cultures and specializes in working with families in poverty, single parents and teen parents. Programming is delivered by skilled, motivated staff that culturally and linguistically mirror the families served. Over 80% of our educators are people of color and collectively fluent in 7 languages.
WTG specializes in reaching families that peer organizations consider hardest to serve, because they are socially isolated, not yet connected to community services, and have significant barriers in accessing and trusting mainstream providers and institutions. WTG staff identify and gain the confidence of these individuals and families and ensure they receive the knowledge and skills to advocate for themselves and their families. WTG’s home visiting staff build trusting relationships with families, identify family strengths and risks, and help families develop and achieve personal goals so their children can thrive.
Many Cultures, One Community: Joyce's Diverse Team of Volunteers Promotes Success in School and Lifelong Learning
The Minneapolis School District reported in 2009 that only 36% of Hispanic children entering kindergarten met benchmarks for basic math and literacy understanding, as compared to 94% of white students. Joyce Preschool works to reduce this gap by providing children from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and economic backgrounds with developmentally and culturally appropriate preparation for success in school.
Accredited by NAEYC, Joyce teaching staff engage with a diverse team of volunteers to enrich its curriculum. Community volunteers receive training in language and literacy strategies and serve as classroom aides at Joyce Preschool. Intentional volunteer recruitment efforts target qualified, passionate individuals who represent a diverse range of racial, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, echoing Joyce's clientele. Volunteers are parents, college students, church members, neighbors, and retirees. Each brings a unique skill set to Joyce and helps us maintain a low student to teacher ratio.
Talking with Kids About Race and Racism: A Workshop for Parents
Research shows that children from a very young age are aware of race. Parents play a critical role in shaping children’s perceptions about race and culture. But many parents aren’t sure how to talk with their kids about race and racism. Many parents aren’t sure how to provide age appropriate answers to questions about race – and worry that they aren’t providing the “right” answers. As a result, families sometimes avoid the topic, which may leave children feeling that the topic of race is taboo or too difficult to talk about.
Most parents feel comfortable talking with their kids about a wide variety of social issues that impact public health and the vitality of our community, from drugs and alcohol to the environment. We’d like to host a community workshop at Highland Catholic School that provides parents with tools, resources and confidence they need to talk with their kids about race and racism.
Teach the World
Seek out & create poems of new messages that can be put to upbeat & inspiring music in "teaching the world" by song. Possibilities include new messages to older, un-copyrighted music that are catchy, perhaps danceable, and well known or favorites. There is also opportunity for creating new music, but it's more complex.
Messages through poems and words that is to be put to music - can come from all ages - to reach all ages. (I have some now)
The "world" concept is because certain music and songs are spread and known worldwide. This is a real possibility with the right words and music.
People smile and become more receptive when they see other people or they themselves can sing a good song and/or dance to the music. It unites people of all ages as "one". It touches people's heart and soul like babies and puppy dogs. It helps people see commonality where they are also more receptive to the messages.
Cross Cultural Training for Head Start/Early Childhood Programs
In our Arrowhead region there are several Head Start Programs serving youth from varied backgrounds, rural and urban, from a blend of cultural and family backgrounds. I work as a Fatherhood Coach for Fond du Lac Head Start Programs in Cloquet, but living in Duluth I have been a parent of children in the Duluth Head Start Programs and I have collaborated professionally with staff from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency Head Start Programs.
The Mustard Seed Garden Center
In 2005, we purchased 27 acres of rolling farmland in Carver County where wanted to build a garden center that would become an example of excellent environmental stewardship. The land was sloped and had erosion issues from years of farming. Additionally, we needed to level the property in order to build our facility, which entailed cutting almost 20’ from the front of the property and using that soil to fill the rear of the property. In all, the excavator said he moved approximately 1 million cubic yards of soil!
Prior to building our facility, we sat down with a multitude of people to consider how we could be the most energy efficient in our operation, how we could minimize the environmental impact on our land, and the best ways to manage our water resources, including runoff.
In the Bible, the Parable of the Mustard Seed speaks of starting small and growing large So That we can provide shelter and protection for others. We want our business, God's Business, to be an example of how to provide for ourselves and others while at the same time taking good care of all that God has entrusted to us.