Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Civic Duty

Recently I was called to Jury Duty for the Federal Court. Even though these things are never convenient it was an interesting experience when I got selected as a juror. The alleged crime took place in my neighborhood and several derogatory remarks were made by police and attorneys about my neighborhood of "Oak Cliff" Texas, which I totally did not appreciate! It reminded me that that the neighborhoods we generally serve in HIPPY are saturated with negative self images and stereotypes that are perpetuated both by those within and outside of the community. What's it like for a child growing up hearing that their neighborhood is "the bad side of town", and their school is "a bad school"? How does that affect their own self image and their hopes and dreams? Yes, we hear a lot about the kids that break out of their humble roots. What are we supposed to do with those who don't, those who stay in the neighborhood and raise children of their own there? We have a responsability to all children, those who stay and those who go. One of the strengths of HIPPY is that it builds upon the leadership and positive aspects of every neighborhood and every school. That's something that will make lasting change from the inside.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Curriculum Crosswalk

HIPPY curriculum used in a home visit in Houston

This semester we are lucky to have a wonderful intern, Jamesia Johnson, who is taking on an important and difficult task for us. The TEA (Texas Education Agency) changed the PK curriculum guidelines last school year and we need to measure how the HIPPY 4 year old curriculum stacks up to these new standards. Jamesia is taking on the meticulous job of cross checking each of the skills developed in HIPPY with the skills outlined by TEA for preschoolers. TEA has identified 9 learning domains, the first of which is the Social and Emotional Development Domain. There are 21 learning goals in this domain. The first is for the child to be"aware of where own body is in space and respects personal boundaries". How does HIPPY address this? Children are given the opportunity to practice these skills 139 times in Age 3 and 136 times in Age 4. Some of the ways they practice these skills are:
  • Identifies & names body parts & their functions
  • Moves body according to directions given
  • Uses the body & senses to explore their environment
  • Discriminates between a variety of sights, sounds, textures, smells, & tastes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Helen is Helping!

Thank you so much again to AARP for bringing us a wonderful opportunity, in the person of Helen H. She is our AARP volunteer and is such a thoughtful and hard working addition to our team. As we can all get quite noisy here in this little office, Helen's quiet and dedicated work ethic has had a calming influence. Thanks Helen!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mentor Connect

Two of my former home instructors, Zulema on the left (me in the middle) and Cecilia on the right, they are now full time early childhood educators with the family literacy project

At the end of May we held a HIPPY Transition Fair to introduce our HIPPY Home Visitors / AmeriCorps Members to a variety of career opportunities. Members had an opportunity to meet with representatives from a variety of careers, as well as brush up on their interviewing skills and get feedback on their resumes. We also inaugurated the HIPPY Mentor Connect program. The purpose of Mentor Connect is to ensure that members successfully transition from their position as Home Instructor into college and a successful career.

HIPPY Mentor Connect is an informally structured program focused on connecting HIPPY home instructors or alumni with individual mentors that can add insight and guidance as home instructors/alumni strive to reach their education and career goals. Recognizing that one of the primary factors toward achieving success is access to information, HIPPY Mentor Connect will assist HIPPY home instructors in their personal and professional development by providing a valuable resource to bridge the gap. HIPPY Mentor Connect volunteers will serve as a support and resource for HIPPY Home Instructors/Alumni. Each mentor will be assigned a home instructor with aspirations of joining the mentor’s career field. The mentor will assist the home instructor navigate toward reaching their professional goals by offering their expertise of the field and providing the home instructor with guidance, advice, and support as needed. Each mentor will commit to assisting in the personal and professional development of a home instructor. The primary way that a mentor will keep their commitment is by making themselves accessible to their mentee via phone, e-mail, etc. HIPPY Mentor Connect will host two formal events. Other relationship development will be conducted via the mentor relationship at the leisure of the mentor and the mentee.

Are you ready to connect?