Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Starting a New Program

One of the most challenging, and rewarding, parts of my job is supporting organizations that want to bring HIPPY into their community. Each start up is different, but in my experience all of them have the following similarities:

  • Need for school readiness and parent involvement - once the organization recognizes this need they see HIPPY as a viable solution that is cost effective and has the desired outcomes.

  • A champion, who advocates for the program until it becomes a reality! This person is a leader who is often within the organization that eventually hosts the program, although sometimes it's a dedicated volunteer or other member of the community.

  • Innovation culture in the organization - HIPPY often takes a change in perspective from seeing parents as a problem to recognizing them as powerful advocates and partners in their children's education. While home visitation has a proven track record, it is often perceived as risky or outside of the normal operations of an organization and it takes an innovative organization to recognize the power of this method.

  • Funding, this is what it all comes down to--finding that funding means grant writing, pulling together collaborations and partnerships and building HIPPY into existing resource streams.

Over the years I have witnessed so much interest in HIPPY, but unless all these aspects are in place, that interest does not gel into a new program starting up. It takes between 8 months and 3 years for that original interest to coalesce into a real program. This is a long and arduous process that can be compared to starting up a new business. The other day I found a website that helps non profits develop new parent education programs and identify what needs to be in place for a program to be successful. I thought it was interesting and an excellent resource for new programss to be developed so I'm sharing it here:

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