Staff from our Fairfield office – loaded with a pizza dinner and gifts of books, pajamas, blankets and stuffed animals – went to visit nearby migrant workers and their children. They also went to lead some parent training and interact with the children.
Over a period of three years of visiting the migrant camp, staff have found that the parents always want them to return and lead the parenting workshops.
“This gives parents and families a chance to gain parent training,” said Andrea Vela, family partner of EMQ FamiliesFirst. “They work from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and it becomes difficult for them to educate themselves because of their tight work schedule. They are excited to learn and become better parents for their children.”
This year’s workshop focused on hopes and feelings, providing tools and resources to help kids express their feelings. Parents cut out pictures from magazines of people or animals showing emotion. Then they made collages based on the identification of feelings. The purpose of the exercise was to help parents communicate with their children. Now they can help their children make their own collages and learn to express feelings.
Topics for the parent workshop come from the Partnership for Early Access for Kids (PEAK) initiative. Hopes and feelings is part of the curriculum. Parents always want to know about PEAK screenings for their kids, which can help them better understand their child’s emotional and developmental needs and stages. Packets were left behind with the supervisor to allow for screening and referrals for children who need more support.
EMQ FamiliesFirst and PEAK collaborate with community businesses and nonprofits to serve the migrant families. This year, Project Night Night donated the clothing and toys given to the children.
Our staff said they enjoy going out to the camp. It’s a different kind of experience than their usual day. And it’s a special time for everyone to grow because the kids are so receptive and teaching the parents is very rewarding.