Program Update

Meeting Challenges This Season

Meeting Challenges This Season 8000 3960 Way to Grow

With the holidays approaching, we are reminded that many families are still in need. In addition to the challenges they face with virtual learning, many families are also dealing with unemployment, food insecurity, and social isolation, all of which have an impact on children’s mental health. A recent study by Save the Children has shown that almost 50% of students in the United States have reported feeling anxious or fearful due to current events. 

Way to Grow understands these challenges and we are working hard to address them. Our Family Educators have successfully adopted virtual home visits and creative activities for the families they support, both to continue their education and to provide socialization. This is crucial during a time when children are unable to visit with friends and extended family. In this way, the Family Educator plays several roles – tutor, mentor, and friend!

Our annual Adopt-A-Family gift card drive also looks a little different this year, and we are finding new ways to provide hope and joy to our families this holiday season. In lieu of gifts, our supporters have provided gift cards, allowing the families to purchase winter clothes, books, toys, groceries, and more. Even the smallest gesture can mean the world to a struggling family, and we are so grateful to those who generously contributed to spreading some holiday cheer! 

Give the gift of a bright future by donating in honor of someone special!

Way to Grow is online!

Way to Grow is online! 2500 1459 Melissa Meyer

The world looks very different today—children are learning at home, many people are unable to work, and a network of services is more important than ever. To meet the increased needs of our families and still keep everyone safe and healthy, on March 16 Way to Grow moved to virtual home visits for our families. Family Educators are now staying in contact with the families they serve through whatever virtual platforms the family can access. Through their screens, our staff continues to provide valuable home visits to families—connecting them to critical resources, teaching activities to families, and answering important questions during a frightening time.

Our Program Manager Patricia, tells us that although this change happened quickly, families are so grateful to make connections despite isolation and still receive the services of Way to Grow. “They are just so joyful that they are still able to communicate with their Family Educators by FaceTime!” she said. “The kids get such a kick out of it and we didn’t miss a beat with any of our activities.” Usually staff bring materials with them to the home, so they have had to get creative. “We started to send everything to the families through email and the mail the second all of this started,” Patricia explained. “We got the materials and curriculum right out to the parents so that we could continue to work with our families.”

Even our preschool has turned into a virtual classroom. Closed along with other schools in Minnesota, our teachers have had to improvise with daily videos to maintain the rhythm of classroom life, as well as reading stories and posting activities. The best part is that families are still engaged—posting photos and videos of their kids doing the activities, commenting with answers to recorded “lessons,” and forming an online community at the same time.

Things might look different right now, but we continue to work tirelessly on behalf of our parents and children each and every day. Despite being physically distant, we are still providing stability in the midst of change and uncertainty. It is because of your generous support that Way to Grow is able to continue our work. We couldn’t do this without you!

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