Published by The Daily Nonpareil
Written by Mike Brownlee, mbrownlee@nonpareilonline.com

The United Way of the Midlands recently awarded $40,000 grant to Heartland Family Service for its Ready in 5 program.

The Ready in 5 program assists parents and caregivers who are international refugees as they prepare their children for success in American kindergarten, Heartland said in a release. The program provides weekly early childhood education programs for groups of families and their children, as well as early intervention programs that may be needed prior to entering kindergarten.

“With the help of this grant, the Ready in 5 program will continue to help refugee families and their children navigate and successfully enter the American school system for the first time,” Heartland said.

In 2019, 368 clients participated in this program. Ninety percent of children demonstrated an improvement in the academic skills needed for kindergarten, and 88% demonstrated improvement in the social skills needed for kindergarten.

Heartland highlighted a refugee to the area: When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the metro, “its societal effects did not spare Ta Blu’s community, and she found herself struggling once again after living in a refugee camp in Thailand for nearly a decade.”

“When all public gatherings shut down, she became worried that her oldest child would not be ready for kindergarten in the fall, the release said, noting that with the help of Ready in 5 Early Childhood Specialists, “she began receiving weekly lesson packets, which included instructions in Ta Blu’s native language of Karen, to help her son prepare for kindergarten. She and her son regularly follow the activity schedules they receive and enjoy the many art projects and cognitive developmental activities in the lesson plans. Ta Blu now feels secure in her son’s readiness to attend school in the fall thanks to the help of the Ready in 5 program.” For more information, go to heartlandfamilyservice.org.

Read online article here