Camden, NJ – Women of the Dream (WOD) announced today that it received a grant from the Community Planning Advocacy Council (CPAC) to provide services to parents of girls involved in Women of the Dream program services.
Ten parents will meet in a group format for seven weeks, followed by three joint sessions with their daughters, for hands-on, interactive activities that will strengthen parent/child and family relationships, improve communication, and provide strategies for self-care for parents.
The new grant, entitled “Parent Engagement Project” (PEP) has been added to WOD’s cadre of services in recognition that parental involvement in program services is critical to successful outcomes in their children.
“Each week, we provide a safe and nurturing space for our girls to receive counseling and other program services,” says Leslie Morris, Founder and CEO of WOD. “We are spinning our wheels without parental involvement in the work we do with our girls.”
The grant will also provide monthly community-wide parent workshops focusing on child development, family dynamics, and strengthening family relationships to create a positive environment within the family and the community. To ensure the success of the community-wide workshops, Women of the Dream is collaborating with the Camden City School District’s (CCSD) Family Operations Coordinators (FOCs) within the Department of Student Support Services.
“The District’s FOCs have a track record of parental outreach and activities targeted to parents,” says Morris. “It’s only appropriate to collaborate with an existing partner with a proven track record of engaging parents.”
The FOCs will market the workshops to parents enrolled in the school district and the wider community, assist parents with registration, and assist with identifying dynamic and expert speakers for the various topical areas.
Both components of the program will launch by the end of February to reach 70 parents by the end of the program in June.
“We realize the program is small and short, but this is fine. Our goal is to collect good data so that we can access additional funds to expand the program to middle and elementary schools,” says Lorraine Howard, a licensed clinical social worker and Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers-New Brunswick and one of the group leaders for the PEP program.
Women of the Dream, a nonprofit organization and vendor for the Camden City School District, provides program services to girls in grades 7-12 through partnerships with CCSD schools. Currently, the organization provides program services to girls in all four high schools on the Camden High School campus, and two middle schools, Veterans Memorial Family School and Morgan Village Middle School.
The model is school-based in that all program services are coordinated through the partner schools, and all services take place at schools during the course of the school day. “This model removes the barriers associated with travel to offsite programs and hours incompatible with the school day,” says Rashonda Ambrose, WOD’s board chair. “Access to WOD’s program services occurs during school hours and is as easy as walking down the hall.”
WOD’s core services are life skills, college prep & career readiness, and a trauma-informed program targeting girls with a history of childhood trauma.
“Since 2014, we have provided program services to girls in CCSD schools. We are proud of the partnership with the CSCD and the support provided by Superintendent Katrina T. McCombs to develop new programs that will positively impact our families and the community at large,” added Morris.
For information about PEP and all program services, contact Leslie Morris at 609-968-8961, or visit the website at www.womenofthedream.org.