WJCS Parent-Child Home Program Receives Grant to Expand Early Literacy Services to Mamaroneck, More Families

White Plains, September 30, 2014 – Westchester Jewish Community Services today announced that it is expanding the Parent-Child Home Program to Mamaroneck, the sixth city in Westchester where children and parents in underserved communities will receive early literacy services to help bridge the educational achievement gap in Westchester and prepare young children for  school success at the same level as their more economically advantaged peers.

The expansion was made possible by a grant from WJCS’ longstanding partner, the national Parent-Child Home Program, which has just received a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Reader’s Digest Foundation to help expand its services in Westchester, New York City and Milwaukee.

“Our Parent-Child Home Program has been successfully engaging parents and families in their roles as their children’s first and most important teachers, thereby helping bridge the academic achievement gap in Westchester for more than 40 years,” says Patrice Cuddy, director of the WJCS Parent-Child Home Program,” and we’re delighted that we can now offer these skills to more families, in addition to those in Greenburgh, Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, Port Chester and White Plains.”

While Westchester is known for wealth and advantage, the county also has the highest level of income inequality in New York State, according to countyhealthrankings.org. This fact presents unique challenges for the children, families and individuals in underserved communities with a very high cost of living. Many of these children enter school unprepared and strive to catch up to their peers. WJCS implemented the Parent-Child Home Program’s model in 1972 to bridge the gap. Now thousands of PCHP graduates are high school and college graduates, lawyers, police officers and teachers; and parents have given back to the community in myriad ways.

“With almost 200 families on our waiting list, we are thrilled that we can extend our early childhood literacy efforts in Westchester and address this critical need.”

PCHP provides a two-year cycle of twice weekly home visits to two to four-year-olds and their parents. Using books and educational toys that are gifts to the families, trained home visitors model reading, play and conversation activities, building language-rich home environments, increasing positive parent-child interaction, and developing the pre-literacy, social and emotional skills that are essential for school readiness.

The Program’s research-proven, evidence-based model has been demonstrated to be effective in improving early language and literacy skills and its methods have been replicated nationally. Research shows that PCHP participants graduate from high school at the rate of middle-class children, 30 percnt higher than their socio-economic peers.

“We are so pleased to be able to provide WJCS with the funding to extend our very successful early literacy/school readiness partnership in Westchester,” said Sarah Walzer, Chief Executive Officer of the Parent-Child Home Program. “We work across the country with diverse underserved families who face many challenges in preparing their children for school success. Our approach is to give parents the knowledge and tools they need to help foster strong language, literacy and numeracy skills in children at an early age, ensuring that they will enter school ready to read and to succeed.

“I would also like to thank the Reader’s Digest Foundation for their generous funding which has enabled PCHP to expand our program with such worthy partners like WJCS.”

About Westchester Jewish Community Services

WJCS is one of the largest non-profit, non-sectarian human services agencies in Westchester, serving 20,000 people annually at 70 clinic, school, community and home-based locations throughout the county. The agency’s integrated network of services includes mental health treatment and counseling, child and youth development programs, residential and non-residential programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, home health and geriatric services. The highest level of professional development and training is offered through the WJCS Educational Institute. For more information on WJCS, go to www.wjcs.com. About Parent Child Home Program

About Parent-Child Home Program:

The Parent-Child Home Program’s (PCHP) nationwide network of program sites provides under-resourced families with the necessary tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Since 1965, PCHP has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding this proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. Through twice-weekly visits by highly trained community-based Early Learning Specialists, PCHP provides families the skills, materials (books and educational toys), and support to help parents engage and teach their children. Almost 50 years of research shows that the program effectively increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education services before grade 3 by 50%, and increases participants’ high school graduation rates by over 30% to the same level as their middle income peers. For more information, please go to www.parent-child.org.

About Reader’s Digest Foundation:

Reader’s Digest Foundation, started in 1938, is dedicated to improving children’s literacy and educational success, and to empowering Reader’s Digest employees to give back and volunteer in their communities. Reader’s Digest Foundation provides family literacy grants through its R.E.A.D. Together program and supports the good works of Reader’s Digest Association employees through a Matching Gift and Volunteer Incentive Program. The Foundation also partners with nonprofits to create workplace opportunities for employees to volunteer their time and share their expertise. To learn more about R.E.A.D. Together, visit www.rd.com/pledgetoread.

Media Contact:

Parent-Child Home Program

David Press

Tel: 917.721.7046

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