Ready by Five Translation and Intepretation Success

Beginning in 2021, Translation and Interpretation is a new service category for the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage. By ensuring that services and information are available in multiple languages, Kent County's early childhood programs can benefit many more families.

Bethany Christian Services, Hispanic Center of West Michigan, and Liaison Linguistics were awarded $210,000 to provide interpretation and translation services (in-person, telephone, and written) to families enrolled in programs funded by Ready by Five. 

"The services were added to extend the reach of our Ready by Five Millage providers," said Heather Boswell, Vice President for First Steps Kent. "By adding translation and interpretation services, we are able to communicate with more families in Kent County about the early childhood programs and services that are available." 

Kimber Wager, program director, at MomsBloom, saw a need for her organization to have more cultural sensitivity and competency training in order to serve Kent County’s Spanish-speaking community.

The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan presented to MomsBloom staff and volunteers around cultural sensitivities and competencies when serving the Hispanic community. Since the training was recorded, MomsBloom can incorporate it into their volunteer training for those who will be interacting with Spanish-speaking clients. Relationships continue to thrive and MomsBloom says they have seen an influx of applications from Hispanic families.

Also, as another component of the Ready by Five funding, the Hispanic Center has helped MomsBloom with interpretation services allowing their Spanish-speaking families to be fully prepared when they meet their new volunteer.

Kimber said, “Thank you so much for offering our families language services so we can better support our community.”

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage also supports Kent ISD's Bright Beginnings Program. One day, Parent Educator, Ashley was working with a family who had two children and a third on the way. The family speaks the language, Karen, so an interpreter was needed and always used for every home visit.

Through the regular sessions, the youngest daughter, age two, has some developmental delays that are being treated through physical and occupational therapy. One day when they were on a scheduled virtual visit, the mom added that the two-year-old was having stomach problems and had been vomiting multiple times a day for nearly a month.

Ashley decided to contact the child’s doctor immediately. Ashley spent time on the phone with the English/Karen translator. The family was able to go to the doctor immediately and learned that their daughter’s diet was causing the stomach problems.

Ashley said she was very thankful for the help of translation services because it allowed medical needs to be met immediately. The child continues to do much better.

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