A Look at What’s Happening at Stone Soup February-March

2.29.2012

The month of February just flew by so quickly! Programs and services are engaging many children and families. There have been many opportunities for partnerships and collaborations that continue to inspire our work. We are most thankful to contributions and support from our friends in the community.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been up to…

Programs

• ELA (Early Learning Academy) children are so excited about their field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in June! They are gearing up by learning about sea animals and sea life. We have met our fundraising goal for the trip! A BIG thank you to our friends at the College Community Congregational Church for sponsor the field trip! Thank you to our parents who have also made donations!

• Play Group children and parents celebrated lots of  hugs and kisses  at their Valentine’s Day party. Young children are meeting milestones and improving social and emotional skills!

• Strong Families program parents learned about higher education and the many ways in which they can support their children’s preparedness for college. Two presenters shared their college experiences and tips on how parents can financially support their children through college. Parents are looking forward to a visit to the CSU Fresno campus. This will be their very first visit on a university campus. Parents enrolled in ESL and citizenship classes are half-way through their classes and preparing for mock interviews. Volunteer mock interviewers are always welcome.

• Parent Leadership Group’s first educational forum was a hit! Two parents presented to their peers about strategies on how to help children stay on top of their homework and enjoy learning. Parents learned about the importance of keeping a family calendar and learned new ideas to motivate children to stay engaged after school.

Partnerships/Collaborative Projects

• Staff joined other local leaders at a seminar on the new healthcare benefits exchange. The seminar provided a wealth of information about the governing body for the healthcare insurance system that will link constituencies to information and resources. Additional training for staff on the affordable care act is scheduled for March.

• The ELA and Play Group programs welcomed the first WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) intern of the year. The internship places nutrition/dietetic students in programs that serve demographically diverse populations. This encourages hands-on learning and experience.

Upcoming events/activities for March

• March 1st – Citizenship Class Mock Interviews

• March 24th – Parent group tour of CSU Fresno campus

• March 30th – Parent Leadership Forum: Test Taking Strategies

 

 

MaiKa Yang, Executive Director

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!

MaiKa Yang, Executive Director

Ensuring Our Health Future

11.2.2011

With the partnership of SEARAC (Southeast Asia Resource Center), Stone Soup recently held presentations on the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Parents from Play Group, the Early Learning Academy, Parent Leadership and Strong Families were given an introduction to the basics of the health care act.

Signed in March 2010 by President Obama, the health care act focuses on the areas of quality healthcare, patient protection, access and affordability. These are important starting points to ensuring that communities throughout the nation will receive better holistic healthcare services.

Quality Care:

The implementation of policies and programs will focus on ensuring families and individuals receive quality care. This includes federal investment into community health centers, workforce expansion to areas in need and greater coverage of preventative care services.

Patient Protection:

From elimination of rescissions to enforcing fair coverage, federal regulations are being created and implemented to protect consumers.

Access and Affordability:

Medicaid’s qualifications are being expanded to include 33% more families, including those 64 years and younger. Those making a gross income greater than 133% will receive subsidies and tax credits to help make affording health insurance possible.  These are a few of the many steps being taken to allow access to affordable health care for everyone.

Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan:

You can enroll your loved ones now! Single individuals and individuals with dependents who’ve been denied health insurance, been without health insurance for the past 6 months and have a pre-existing condition can now enroll for the federally funded insurance plan. You can check it out at www.healthcare.gov or www.mrmib.ca.gov.

By 2014, all individuals will be required to have health insurance. Until then, communities must be educated and aware of the changes already taking place and be active participants in the changes that are going to take place. Becoming a part of these changes is necessary to making sure that our families and community members’ needs are addressed in all policies and programs of the health care act. Stone Soup will be creating future opportunities for families to be educated and active in ensuring their healthy future so stay tuned!

For more information, contact alice@stonesoupfresno.org

Health Insurance Exchange

SEARAC Health Facts

California Department of Health

Medi-Cal information

Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plane

 

Alice Yang, Community Resource Developer

Summer Revival: Building Community Through Culture

9.30.2011

 

 

 

 

Besides the challenge to stay cool in the triple digit heat, summer also brings the challenge of keeping children busy, entertained, and engaged. This summer, in response to many Hmong families’ requests, Stone Soup in partnership with the Hmong Culture Preservation Group (HCPG) brought back the popular Hmong Culture and Literacy program. First established by Hmong college students attending Fresno State, the program addresses the problems of Hmong youth dropping out of school and becoming pressured to join gangs. The program brings together Hmong teachers, cultural experts, college students, parents and community members to serve as positive role models, sharing their gifts and talents to teach at-risk Hmong youth to value the Hmong and the American culture.  Read the rest of this entry »

MaiKa Yang, Executive Director

Our Newest Americans Celebrate Their Citizenship with Members of North Fresno Rotary

7.22.2011

Recently, our staff, board members, supporters, North Fresno Rotary Club members and local immigration officers celebrated the newest American citizens at Stone Soup Fresno’s community center. In addition, the staffs of Senator Michael Rubio and Assembly Member Henry T. Perea presented certificates recognizing our newest Americans.

For many Hmong refugees, citizenship creates opportunities to advance the integration of their families into the fabric of American life. Seven years ago, Fresno received an influx of 2,000 Hmong refugees from Thailand. New to America, many Hmong refugee families faced significant challenges in finding their places in a different world. But for these new citizens, the hard work has truly paid off. Read the rest of this entry »

MaiKa Yang, Executive Director