Graduates of FIRC Home Visit Program ready for kindergarten | SummitDaily.com

Graduates of FIRC Home Visit Program ready for kindergarten

Daily News staff report

Twenty-four children graduated from the Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s (FIRC) Families United Home Visitation program on Aug. 7. Most graduates completed five years in the program and are now ready to enter kindergarten

FIRC’s is the only home visitation program in the county that is open to all families regardless of income. Currently there are 150 children age 5 or younger receiving home visits from FIRC. The program uses a “parents as teachers” curriculum with the goals of helping children reach developmental milestones and giving parents the tools they need to be the best teachers for their children.

FIRC provides monthly home visits to families enrolled in the program and works on a variety of skills, from gross motor activities to reading. FIRC parent educators offer a resource for answering parents’ questions and giving them solutions to helping their children overcome learning and behavioral challenges.

The program also provides monthly group connections as a way for families to meet each other and build parental relationships. These activities include swimming lessons, kayaking and bilingual story time. They not only allow parents to interact, but also expose them to activities that they may not have explored on their own.

In order to provide home visitations for free, The Right Start Project, a Summit County taxpayer-supported fund, provides 20 percent of the FIRC Families United funding. The purpose of the Right Start fund is to support school readiness and early literacy for children in Summit County. With The Right Start Project’s help, FIRC has been able to expand early childhood education opportunities for those who cannot afford preschool or who prefer individualized support from a parent educator. Right Start funding also allows additional education and support to parents looking to build strong family relationships and who want to give their children the best start to life possible during the critical developmental years.

“One of the most important pieces of this program is it teaches parents how to advocate for their child’s education,” said Noelle Sivon, FIRC Families United Program. “Parents’ involvement in a child’s school work and behavior at school is one of the most important aspects of future educational success.”

Parents of graduating students were asked what they felt was the largest benefit of the program.

“The program has helped my child’s social skills and has taught me as a parent how I can contribute to my child’s development,” said one.

“The program gave me confidence in my parenting style and ideas on how to bring fun into our everyday lives,” another parent said. “Ever since I started the FIRC program, my kids don’t go to bed without a bedtime story, and they love that.”

For more information contact Anita Overmyer, FIRC development director at (970) 262-3888 ext. 306 or email anitao@summitfirc.org


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