Thursday, January 08, 2009
Our primary focus is to teach parents of preschoolers (age 3, 4, 5) how to get their children ready for school. Home Visitors first establish a relationship with parents, and train them to work with their children. Once parents feel comfortable with teaching techniques and their own skills they are challenged to give back to the community by volunteering. Home visitors are the link between the community and the school. They bring volunteer opportunities from the school to parents and support volunteering and parent involvement in the schools. Principals like Kay Reynolds at Richardson ISD Dobie Elementary have expressed the wide-reaching effects HIPPY has on volunteerism in their school, “My Pre-K teachers comb through their class roster at the beginning of the year looking for HIPPY kids and their parents! They know that these parents are motivated, anxious to help their child and willing to volunteer. HIPPY helps parents understand they need to be involved and to look for new ways to be involved.” We challenge parents to volunteer 20 hours per year through bringing opportunities into the home visit, hosting volunteer events at the school, and presenting volunteer opportunities during the monthly parent meetings at the school. This year the Texas HIPPY Center has developed a 15 hour curriculum for program coordinators to provide home visitors with training on how to develop leadership and volunteerism among parents. This curriculum is available online at http://www.hippymis.org/ (click on backoffice). Once activated, parents have engaged in the following volunteer activities: reading to children in the classroom, supervising field trips, overseeing the lunch room, making classroom supplies for teachers, establishing a community garden, participating in PTA, and special projects such as painting a mural at a school cafeteria. As a result of our Home Visitors efforts (HIPPYCorps Members) 80.6% of HIPPY parents increased their level of parent involvement with their children’s school. At the beginning of the year 47% of parents had volunteered or otherwise supported their child’s school. By the end of the year, 65% were involved monthly or more often. Thanks to the continuous support and motivation from the HIPPYCorps Home Visitors 1,590 HIPPY parents volunteered a total of 25,110 volunteer hours!