A pair of local nonprofits formed a partnership to provide the families they serve with better child care and early childhood education resources.
Grand Rapids-based United Methodist Community House said last week that it is partnering with Family Promise of Grand Rapids to expand wraparound support and resources for families with children in the UMCH Child Development Center.
“Family stability is extremely important for children to find success,” said Carla Moore, chief operations officer at UMCH. “We understand from years of research how much critical development is happening while students are in our care. We want to ensure their environment is optimized, which will help to set them up for success later in life. This partnership looks at the family as a whole and helps to provide families with the tools they need to be successful.”
UMCH will host Mackenzie Vilmont, a staff member of Family Promise, to serve as the on-site family engagement specialist at UMCH. She will work alongside families and children in UMCH’s Child Development Center to create “a thriving family dynamic” through affordable child care and family resources. UMCH will add play-and-learn groups that will host activities for families to complete together, along with forming a parent engagement committee that will focus on becoming involved with their children’s development.
“We have always had a great partnership with UMCH, and as our partnership grew, we started asking how we could combine our strengths to positively impact more children in Kent County,” said Cheryl Schuch, CEO at Family Promise.
“We’re excited to have an FPGR family engagement specialist housed at UMCH to provide classroom support, as well as child and parent support. When we connect families to community resources and identify early interventions for children, that family unit grows stronger and continues to stabilize and thrive. Partnering with UMCH was a no-brainer. They do great work with kids and families, and we are excited to assist more families and children in Kent County.”
Moore said the collaboration with Family Promise to boost the quality of its family and child resources has been the works for a few years.
“It is fortunate that we are able to fully launch this initiative in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because, though families are struggling, we are here to provide additional support,” she said.