A Look at What’s Happening at Stone Soup

1.31.2012

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2012, we are encouraged and inspired by all of you who believe in our mission to continue the work to strengthen children, families, and the Fresno community. We look forward to working with our constituents, supporters, and partners in accomplishing our mission to strengthen children, families, and community. We look forward to a year filled with many successes!

In reflection, the year 2011 brought us many successes. Your contribution sustained programs that moved us towards our mission. We served166 families on a continual basis over the year with over 250 children involved in early education, literacy, and academic preparedness. Three hundred parents engaged in their children’s education and development, and 40 youth leaders committed to community and service. Also, we celebrated 54 parents becoming new American citizens! In other aspects, we are developing new partnerships with other services providers and building stronger relationships with existing partners.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happening at Stone Soup:

Programs

• ELA (Early Learning Academy) is back in session with children involved in many exciting learning opportunities. Parent involvement in the classroom has increased. Staff has integrated Hmong language development into daily lessons. Fundraising for the June field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium is in full swing with special sponsorship request letters sent to multiple partners. KYNO radio made a special announcement on our behalf.

• Play Group is in full swing with over 40 children ages 0-4 and parents attending twice a week. We still have a long waiting list and receive weekly calls from interested parents.

• Strong Families program has kicked off a new cohort of Hmong parents enrolled in ESL and Citizenship classes. The majority of students are high-school graduates with enough English language skills needed to grasp daily lessons on government, history, and civics. In six weeks, students will complete the class and be on their way to becoming naturalized American citizens. We are coordinating monthly workshops on subjects related to education and equipping parents with the resources and knowledge to help their children succeed in school.

• Parent Leadership Group members are busily organizing their first forum to educate and distribute information about the importance of state standardized testing and the impact on student placements. The forum is free for all Hmong parents.

Partnerships/Collaborative Projects

• Fresno Unified School District’s Parent University staff will be working closely with staff to continue providing trainings to parents on the educational system.

• SEARAC (Southeast Asia Resource Action Center) has an ongoing grant to promote and conduct community outreach on the affordable care act implementation. We are also a partner in the statewide coalition on ensuring proper implementation of the common core state standards.

• Staff is involved in the building of the Youth Engagement Team, a collaborative of youth-serving organizations, supported by the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities 10-year initiative to invest in place-based change in Fresno. Hmong youth are represented and involved in monthly leadership meetings.

• We have collaborated with three other local agencies serving Southeast Asian communities to engage in strategic advocacy efforts on economic opportunities tied to the new high-speed rail job creation.

• We are partners in the advocacy collaborative and attend quarterly meetings with DHSS and family strengthening organizations. Meetings serve the purpose to keep partners informed of policy changes that impact local families.

• We are serving on the CSU Fresno Bilingual/Dual language consortium composed of educators, community organizations, parents, and advocates whose charge is to ensure the education programs/teacher credentialing are held to the highest accreditations standards and that teaching programs reflect the language and cultural diversity of the Valley’s diverse populations.

Community

Hmong Culture & Preservation Group board members and volunteers will collaborate with Stone Soup once again to coordinate and run the Hmong Culture & Literacy Academy program this summer.

Upcoming events/activities

• February 13th Office closed (FUSD schedule)

• February 17th – Nutrition Wheels Team workshop for ELA children and parents

• February 18th- Parent Leadership Forum: Preparing Parents and Students for the Star Testing, Stone Soup

• February 20th- Holiday, Office closed

• February 24th – ELA Read and Feed event;

• February 25th- Strong Families workshop: Higher Education Part 2

Best wishes for a great 2012!

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