The BBF and PCC “mini grants” were awarded in January to 7 applicants that successfully presented proposals that addressed the PCC 8 Core Services and/or an Outcome area from the Caledonia/S.Essex BBF Regional Action Plan. Enhancing kindergarten transition practices that support children and families, supporting literacy activities, and home visiting and healthy children are some of the general focus areas that were identified in the grants as projects that will be initiated in the region.
At our February BBF Council meeting, BBF Coordinator Ellen Taetzsch, from Springfield & N. Windsor/Orange regions, came to share two initiatives in the Springfield area called the “Same Page Initiative” and the “Healing Library” project. These initiatives are directly related to our BBF Action Plan priorities: “Children and families are supported during transition to preschool/kindergarten” and “Parents can access knowledge regarding children’s social/emotional health”. The presentation sparked a rich conversation and sharing thoughts and ideas about the work in our communities. Renee Kelly, the Head Start State Collaboration Office Director was also able to join us for the meeting, and shared resources specific to transitions from the national Head Start resources. The meeting was hosted by Laurie Kozar of the Family Place at the St. Johnsbury School.
The BBF Professional Development Committee has been busy planning an Early Childhood Professionals “Mini Conference” in April. The committee has reached out to our community partners and is pleased to have the support from Springfield College in St. Johnsbury to host the event. We have financial support from the Caledonia S.Essex Starting Points networks, as well as the Community National Bank. There will be a variety of workshops and participants will be able to obtain 6 hours of professional development credit at a low cost and minimal travel time. “Offering advanced professional development opportunities for early childhood professionals” is a priority on our BBF Regional Action Plan.
The 13th Annual “Dabble Day” on March 21st at the St. Johnsbury School is being organized by BBF, with assistance from the Parent Child Center and participation from many community partners. The day provides fun family activities rich in resources that promote social connections. It is an annual event that is well attended and anticipated by families with young children in our communities!
The Northeast Kingdom was one of eight regions around the state that received a $15,000 planning grant from the Vermont Working Communities Challenge. Each team has chosen an initial focus for the initiative. In the NEK, Social and infrastructure investments tackling intergenerational poverty is the focus for 4 specific communities: Barton, Lyndon, Newport & St. Johnsbury. BBF will be a voice at the table representing families with young children.
We are excited about enhancing the partnership between BBF and Strong Families VT. At a recent meeting, we identified specific areas of collaboration such as the Welcome Baby Bags project, ASQ screening at community based locations, Dabble Day, the Diaper Bank and participation on the BBF Regional Councils.
The next meeting of the Caledonia S.Essex BBF Regional Council is March 16 from 5:30-7 pm at the Vermont Department of Health in St Johnsbury.