355 Goshen Road, PO Box 909
Litchfield, CT 06759

Parents As Teachers National Center Awards Blue Ribbon Status
to EdAdvance’s Nurturing Families Network
EdAdvance’s Nurturing Families Network Program has been awarded Blue Ribbon status from the Parents as Teachers National Center. Blue Ribbon status is a notable distinction in the field of evidence-based home visiting reserved for programs that deliver the highest quality services to children and families. To earn Blue Ribbon status, programs must complete a rigorous self study and a National Center review process. The new Blue Ribbon affiliates will be formally recognized on October 11th at the 2018 Parents as Teachers International Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Jeffrey Kitching, EdAdvance’s Executive Director, Lisa Candels, Clinical Supervisor of Nurturing Families Network (with Blue Ribbon Award), and Michelle Anderson, Director of Early Childhood & Family Programs.

Constance Gully, President and Chief Executive Officer at Parents as Teachers National Center notes, “Our quality endorsement process helps to ensure that organizations implementing the Parents as Teachers model are responsive to the needs of the community and are providing the highest quality program. This rigorous endorsement process demonstrates increased accountability and credibility to the community, our funders, elected officials, and the partner organizations with which we work.”

EdAdvance’s Nurturing Families Network is a federally-funded home visiting program that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum. Nurturing Families provides education and support services to women and their families, beginning in pregnancy and continuing until their children are five years old. Participating families work with a home visitor who provides family-centered supports to ensure children grow up healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

“Nurturing Families Network has been a valuable resource for families in Torrington and Winsted for the past five years. The program recognizes parents as their child’s first, most important teacher and provides the support families need to address challenging situations,” shares Michelle Anderson, Director of Early Childhood & Family Programs at EdAdvance.

For more information on the Nurturing Families Network, contact Michelle Anderson at andersonm@edadvance.org or 860-567-0863 x179.

Tobacco Free Student Advocacy Day
Seventy-six middle and high school student advocates from the Northwestern CT Partnership for Tobacco Free Communities and Western CT Alliance for Tobacco Free Communities, two Connecticut Department of Public Health grant-funded initiatives awarded to EdAdvance, visited the State Capitol on Monday, March 18, 2018 for Tobacco Free Student Advocacy Day. Tobacco Free Advocacy Day presented a critical opportunity for students to speak directly with state legislators and gain support for statewide changes to promote healthy, tobacco-free policies across their communities.

The Northwestern CT Partnership for Tobacco Free Communities and Western CT Alliance for Tobacco Free Communities programs focus on youth and young adult tobacco use prevention and advocacy in western Connecticut. State Representative Michelle Cook (Torrington) and several legislative aides joined students for the morning advocacy session. A key message of the student presentations was support for passage of Tobacco 21 (T21) legislation in the state, which would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 from the current age of 18. Additional concerns voiced were the dramatic increase in use of electronic cigarettes and vaping among youth, and the addition of candy-like flavorings in tobacco products that promote tobacco initiation by youth.

EdAdvance’s current Tobacco Free Communities activities include: youth leadership development and advocacy training, collaborating with community and official agencies to restrict access to tobacco products in retail outlets and increase tobacco free outdoor spaces, facilitating access to community-based tobacco cessation services, and organizing high impact community events that advocate for tobacco free living.

Tobacco Free Communities Projects students were also recently involved in the 2nd Annual NCPN (Northwest Corner Prevention Network) Wellness Fair at Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

For more information about EdAdvance’s Tobacco Free Communities Programs in northwest and western CT, contact Abby Peklo, Director of Student & Community Programs at peklo@edadvance.org or 860.567.0863 x166

Student advocates at the State Capitol.

Broadview Middle School students provide
commentary on underage tobacco use by peers.

EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five
Receives Books for Ownership Matching Grant  
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) announces the recipients of its 2017 matching grant program to support local literacy champions who are making a difference in the lives of children across the country. EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five will receive a combination of books and literacy resources to implement BOOKS FOR OWNERSHIP to benefit 249 children in Litchfield County.

"Reading Is Fundamental is committed to creating a culture of literacy in communities nationwide.  Reading is the necessary foundation for all children that puts them on the pathway for success," says RIF President and CEO, Alicia Levi. "For over 50 years, Reading Is Fundamental has supported local literacy advocates with the resources they need to impact children in their communities."

Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential, yet 25 million children in the United States cannot read proficiently (see  1 below). 1 In addition, 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn how to read (see 2 below). By the fourth grade, 65% of children are reading below grade level (see 3 below).

Books for Ownership Matching Grant Program
This competitive grant program focuses on access and choice and gives students in communities throughout the country the opportunity to participate in RIF's flagship program and select new, age-appropriate books to take home. The program's integrated approach to literacy provides supporting resources to teachers and inspires children to learn through two annual events focused on motivational literacy activities, community involvement, and book selection.

The first family literacy event was held on Friday January 26, 2018 at the EdAdvance campus in Litchfield.  Over 40 volunteers from the Litchfield High School Acts of Kindness Club performed for or served the EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five families by performing musical skits from children's favorite books. 30 of the volunteers were costumed characters who were available throughout the evening for photos, autographs and as part of the performances.  Each performance involved audience participation.  Other volunteers assisted with craft projects which included decorating a book bag to carry their new book home. Volunteers also offered face painting, signing guests in, and distributing the books donated through the Reading is Fundamental Books for Ownership program.  Families also received literacy activities to enjoy home with links to Literacy Central, a website sponsored by RIF filled with fun reading activities and resources for families and professionals.

About Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to create impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success.  As the nation's largest nonprofit organization for children's literacy, RIF has provided more than 413 million books to 40 million kids in all 50 states.

About EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five
Head Start provides an array of comprehensive, quality services, including health, nutrition, parent support, education, and mental health, to children ages three to five and their families. The program's vision is "each child and family leaves Head Start healthy, eager to learn, and ready for success." Program staff work closely with families to ensure that each child has the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in kindergarten.

The Early Head Start program provides services to infants, toddlers, and pregnant women in Torrington and Winsted through home visiting and socialization.
1.  Based on an analysis of NAEP test scores.
2.  Council on Early Childhood (2014). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics 134(2): 404-409.
3.  National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading.

Contact: Patti Palermo
860.567.0863 ext. 191