Help Me Grow Kent Outreach and Navigation
Language barriers can often be the cause of frustration, especially when trying to navigate the early childhood system in Kent County. Help me Grow Kent offers many chances to move beyond language barriers and lead parents in the right direction of helpful services in our community.
At the end of August, Help Me Grow Kent Care Coordinator, Katie, received a call from Jessica*, a mother of three young children. Jessica was feeling distressed about getting her daughter, Isabel into a preschool program. She also had concerns about her youngest daughter, who she thought might have some delays. Jessica's first language is not English, so as she was trying to navigate the preschool system, she was experiencing a lot of frustration and confusion.
Through talking with partner organizations, Katie was able to do some digging and talked to Jessica about the necessary paperwork she would need to get Isabel started in preschool. Everything was filed and Isabel was able to start in a Head Start program on time. Jessica was so grateful for the support; each time Katie spoke with her she was so relieved that her questions were being answered and that she was getting support for her children.
Additionally, although the youngest daughter was already receiving some services through Early On, Jessica felt like she could use additional support. Help Me Grow Kent shared information with her about different home visiting services and she decided that she would like to begin the Bright Beginnings program since they were doing some of their home visits in person, and she needed the in-person support. Katie provided a referral for this program, and since then, she has been matched up with a Bright Beginnings Parent Educator.
Help Me Grow Kent connects families with children birth through age five to local resources, helping children grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school. Jessica is just one of the examples of a parent who has been heard and feels more confident about her children’s future.
If you’d like to reach out to Help Me Grow Kent, you can call Katie, Michelle, or Mallory at 616.742.8903. This millage-funded service is made possible thanks to the generosity of Kent County taxpayers and the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage.
* Names have been changed.