TLC Family Resource Center’s Melony Williams (right) visits with Krystle and her son Jaxon. Family Resource Centers provide a range of programs and services that help young families learn skills and connect with resources they need to succeed.
GOAL: All kids have strong families and role models
Why it matters
Melony Williams oversees home visiting programs for the TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont. She and her colleagues help some of the most vulnerable New Hampshire kids get early care and learning that help them thrive — in part, by sharing knowledge and resources with their parents. Her tools include brightly colored blocks for sorting and stringing, developmental questionnaires, an app that delivers daily childhood “brain building” activities, board books — plus kindness, patience and a master’s degree.
Krystle works full time at Cumberland Farms. She and her son Jaxon, who is almost 2, live with her parents.
As Williams and Krystle discuss problem-solving and developmental stages, Jaxon makes forays to explore the room, coming back regularly to touch base with Krystle.
“That teaches him that he can do things on his own, but that you will be here to help him,” Williams points out to Krystle, who smiles shyly.
When Jaxon says a word — door, dog, block — Krystle repeats it.
This may seem intuitive — but such interactions help a child’s brain grow, and build his trust in the people around him.
“That’s really good how you say what he says right after, so he knows you’re understanding him,” Williams says. A parenting skill learned and praised gets repeated. A young mom’s skill grows, her little boy gets a stronger start.
TLC is one of 20 family resource centers around the state that help struggling young families learn skills and connect with resources they need to succeed — and, in turn, to help their children succeed.
When kids thrive, and have the chance to grow into thriving adults, our communities and our economy are stronger.
Not all kids get that chance. Kids from wealthy and well-educated families have more access to high-quality early childhood education, better schools and enrichment activities, and mentors who help them succeed. All of those things act as guardrails to help keep kids on track.
But many poor kids don’t have those guardrails. Many live isolated lives, falling behind in school early, detached from community and the supports they so achingly need. They are less likely to finish high school and go to college, and their earnings potential is less. The cycle continues when they have their own kids, often early and unprepared. Family resource centers help break those cycles — helping families connect with their communities and learn the skills they need to launch their own children on the path to success.
Investing in family resource centers means healthier and more stable families, increased academic success for kids and saved societal costs. It helps kids like Jaxon grow into healthy and successful adults who will contribute to New Hampshire communities tomorrow.
Strategies and progress to increase opportunity
The Foundation is working to improve access to programs and services for struggling families by helping family resource centers improve quality of services and serve more families; expand access to parenting classes and other services for young moms and dads; help more kids get connected with mentors through high-quality mentoring programs; and support effective after-school, summer camp and youth leadership programs
serving New Hampshire kids.
Significant progress has been made to date, including:
- Foundation support has helped family resource centers from Gorham to Franklin to Salem deliver a wide range of programs and services — from prenatal care to parenting classes and after-school programs — to New Hampshire families.
- Charitable Foundation support and state funding to the New Hampshire Children’s Trust will help family resource centers improve their quality and provide technical assistance; three more family resource centers are meeting state standards of quality.
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters has continued to build its capacity and financial sustainability so it can provide more children with mentors.
- Generous Foundation donors have continued to align their giving with the goals of New Hampshire Tomorrow, supporting a wide range of mentoring and after-school programs, from the Circle and Mayhew Programs to Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Clubs and Girls at Work.