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Kellogg Foundation awards Dryades YMCA with grant for early childhood

29th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

Secondary caretakers in New Orleans just got a little more support. The Dryades YMCA of New Orleans announced last week that it has been awarded $298,190 in grant funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation that will be used for early childhood development.

The organization plans to use the three-year grant to implement the Early Learning Readiness for Informal Family, Friend and Neighbor Caregivers program (ELR-FFN), which is an evidence-based program for extended family members, friends and neighbors that will focus on making children under age 5 more school-ready.

“Every year we have to wait list a significant number of young children who end up in an informal childcare setting,” said Douglas Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dryades YMCA.

The program’s goal will be to increase informal childcare provider capacity in Central City neighborhoods.

“This group of friends, family or neighbor caregivers has a tremendous potential to provide young children with rich experiences that promote early learning and school readiness in the context of loving relationships. This program will support them in doing so,” Evans said.

ELR is modeled after the Tutu and Me program piloted in Hawaii, in which caregivers get involved in a learning environment to prepare their children for future school success.

According to a Dryades YMCA press release, the program will help develop the children’s physical, verbal and social skills by providing them with a stimulating environment. The release also states that “caregivers will learn how children develop and how to encourage skill building at home. The curriculum addresses the holistic development of young children by supporting brain development, early literacy, heal?thy habits development, and strong parenting skills.”

While Dryades YMCA is being independently funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its ELR program according to the organization, 20 Y’s from around the country are also launching the ELR program in 2013. The cohort of Ys expect to benefit from the collective group experience as well as national program evaluation and technical assistance from the YMCA of the USA.

“The ELR program will help lay the foundation for future and ongoing achievement and success,” Evans said.

This article originally published in the April 29, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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