April 19, 2013

While it sometimes may feel like your program does everything, it isn’t always possible to provide all of the support that program families might need. A program can, however, connect families to resources in the community when their needs fall outside your areas of expertise. Bring other agencies or presenters into your building, or refer families to services nearby.

Get staff into the mindset of becoming “connectors” by offering professional development on this important role. The Connecting Families to Supports Training Starter, found in the Teach / Family Involvement section of Y4Y, establishes a framework for a training session that you can customize and adapt to the needs you see in your program families.


April 19, 2013

One critical way to support program families is to provide opportunities for parents and other family members to gain useful skills for their own professional advancement and personal growth. Check out this list of Adult Development Activities in the Learn / Family Involvement section of Y4Y. Do you see a need for any of these initiatives or similar ones in your program families?

By starting an English as a Second Language class or hosting parenting classes, everyone wins. Families benefit from their new skills, their children receive more support because parents may feel more confident and prepared to provide it, and your program reaps the rewards of establishing stronger bonds among families and between the families and your staff.

Remember, too, that if offering a GED course or a résumé-writing workshop is beyond the capacity of your small staff, you can always be connectors.


April 19, 2013

As your program builds on its family involvement efforts, it may be helpful to know where you fit in on a larger scale. Take a look at several programs operated by the U.S. Department of Education to support children and their families and take comfort in the fact that there are many others working alongside you to help families be successful and happy.


April 19, 2013

How do a family’s needs fit into your planning for program activities and structure? Check out this video to see how one program decided that homework help was a must-have because parents highly valued that component.

Think about the families in your program. What do they want for their children to participate in during their afterschool time? Chime in on the Discussion Board by telling Y4Y what your program offers that meets families’ wishes for their children.


April 5, 2013

Picnics, basketball games, and breaking ground in a garden are all examples of fun spring activities with greater potential for family involvement. Before you implement your family engagement plans, though, take stock of who your families are and make sure that your efforts match their interests and needs.

The Supporting and Involving Families tool, listed under Family Involvement in the Tools section of the portal, offers some general ways to engage, support, and involve families in your program. To mold an effective strategy, take some of the general suggestions and tailor them to your program and families in the “Personalization” column. Think of all the springtime possibilities for three or four of the promising practices listed, then plan how to put your ideas into action.