Editor's note: This is the 20th in a series of stories featuring the 25 agencies that will be receiving money from the Finney County United Way in 2014.
By KELTON BROOKS
Like a parent witnessing their child's first word and step, the care and support from the Russell Child Development's Building Blocks agency is in a child's life from day one.
The agency provides learning opportunities, essential family and caregiver supports, and adequate provider resources to enhance early literacy and overall child development, family confidence and competence, and community capacity.
Building Blocks has different projects and programs that are based on improving outcomes for young children and their families.
One of the programs is the Building Blocks Positive Parenting Program, or "Triple P Program," which is funded through Building Blocks Early Childhood Block grants awarded to Russell Child Development Center by the Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund.
"We are seeing very positive responses from parents who are participating in the Triple P Program, and they feel it's very practical and good information they can use right away with their children," Deanna Berry, executive director of Russell Child Development Center, said. "It improves relationships, and some of it prevents behavioral problems."
The program is a system of intervention for parents of young children who are at risk of developing behavior problems, offering many strategies to families to prevent issues before they happen. It also gives support to parent and caregivers for children from birth to the age of 5.
"When parents have the tools they need, it minimizes the frustration, and it helps them use strategies to develop their child's social skills and to be more successful," Berry said.
The Finney County United Way has supported the program by funding resources provided to practitioners for parents.
Building Blocks receives $2,000 from United Way. The funds are used to buy parenting class videos that give examples of how to handle problems and coach parents on how to deal with different issues and parent information booklets.
"Parents receive these resources by attending parenting seminars or one-on-one coaching in their home," Building Blocks Coordinator Jeanne Billings said.
Finney County currently has 15 practitioners trained in the Building Blocks Triple P Positive Parenting Program, providing services in English and Spanish.
"We are so thankful for the support we receive from the Finney County United Way to help this program, which in turn means stronger families in our community," Billings said.
The local United Way's annual campaign goal is $560,000, which is $10,000 more than last year.
The 25 partner agencies for the 2014 campaign include:
Miles of Smiles; Real Men, Real Leaders; Russell Child Development Center; Santa Fe Trail Council - Boy Scouts of America; Seeds of Hope Jail Ministry; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association; Building Blocks Project through Russell Child Development Center; Spirit of the Plains - CASA, Inc.; St. Catherine Hospital - Lactation Program; United Methodist Mexican - American Ministries; The Salvation Army; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Garden City Recreation Commission - Playground Program; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney & Kearny Counties; Catholic Social Service; Circles of Hope; Community Day Care Center, Inc.; Family Crisis Services, Inc.; Finney County Retired Senior Volunteer Program; Garden City Area Chapter of the American Red Cross; Garden City Family YMCA; Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland; Habitat for Humanity; Kansas Children's Service League; Meals on Wheels.