PCHP graduation or ‘moving up’ ceremonies are exciting events and wonderful opportunities to enjoy and reflect on the great work done by the Parent-Child Home Program staff and families. At these ceremonies, we celebrate not only the success of the Program children, but also the accomplishments of their families. Families completing the two-year Program know how to read, play, and interact with their children, and understand the importance of supporting their school readiness. They are excited and confident as they prepare to embark on the next step of their children’s educational journey. Entire families beam with pride as their children walk across the stage to receive their certificates. They are doubly proud – they are proud that their children have made such remarkable progress at such a young age, and they are proud of the huge role they are playing in their children’s success. The entire family is now invested in their child and his or her educational success.
I also always beam with pride at these graduations. These are the moments that the national center staff and the local site staff work towards all year – seeing families gather together to celebrate this first critical step towards school and life success; seeing how much they treasure the relationships they have developed with the site staff, and how they light up when they see their home visitors; and seeing how the home visitors light up when they see their families and immediately begin to describe how much progress their families have made and how ready the children are for school.
This year I attended the first graduation at the Lutheran Family Health Centers’ PCHP in Brooklyn, NY. The site grew from 25 to 50 families this year, and will continue to expand in the coming year. There were well over 150 people celebrating this first graduation, and all of them gathered at cafeteria tables to do art projects with the children, packed the auditorium to applaud the graduates, and then shared foods from their diverse cultures, demonstrating the powerful connections that Lutheran has established in the community, and the investment that both the staff and families are making in the future of these graduates.
A special thank you goes to the many members of the PCHP Young Professionals Committee (newly established as part of the national center’s expansion efforts) for volunteering to ensure the success of the event.
I feel so lucky to be a part of an organization that creates such smiles, joy, pride, and hope, building family bonds, and most importantly, helping to start these families on the path to many future graduations.