Family support programming series at Ellis Elementary strengthens parent skills

Strong Neighborhoods Parenthood

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/22/2015) – In an effort to help families respond to issues of poverty, it is important to provide support for parents as well as for children. United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with Ellis Elementary School, Rockford Public Schools District #205, and Rockford Park District, is addressing this need by providing quality parent support programming directly into the Ellis Heights neighborhood. ParentH.O.O.D (Helping Our Own Develop) program will provide a series of four events covering relevant topics in education, income and health, which will help parents build stronger networks of support and get connected to important community resources. The events will be held in conjunction with Ellis Elementary School family nights.

ParentH.O.O.D. program is a direct response to needs discovered through United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which is dramatically improve the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Parents acknowledged feeling frustrated while trying to pursue education, find employment and respond to health challenges. One of the areas of frustration for parents was the lack of true support from service providers. Although parents are dedicated caregivers, many deal with tremendous life challenges and need support. Parents participating in the program will improve their understanding of community resources, learn communication and advocacy skills, and gain a better sense of support from neighbors and organizations aimed at addressing social needs.


Program Content

October 22, 2015 – Mental Health
Katie Heisler, Intensive Community/School Based Counselor – Rosecrance

Explain signs and symptoms of mental health issues that children often struggle with, explain services that are available through Rosecrance, how it can help their child, and medication that is often used to treat these signs and symptoms.


December 10, 2015 – Substance Abuse/Self Care – How to handle stress and life challenges
Kyle Auman, Health Equity Officer – Winnebago County Health Department

Discuss alternative solutions to dealing with stress such as a list of resources in the community and how parents can get in contact with them.


March 17, 2016 – Communication/Education - How to be an advocate for yourself
Professor Theresa Gilbert – Rock Valley College
Dr.Will Ashford, Director of Learning Opportunity Center – Rock Valley College
Amanda Smith, Dean of Adult Education – Rock Valley College

Parents will be given a brief introduction to educational programming in our community including benefits of and how to move forward getting a G.E.D, opportunities in higher education, certificate programs, and degree programs. Parents will be invited to participate in a four-week continuation of this session of Parenth.o.o.d. education to be held at Rock Valley College.


April 14, 2016 – Jobs/Income - Hiring event and employment resources
Mike Williams, Executive Director – Rock River Training Corporation

Provide staff to attend the parent support sessions to present information regarding workforce training services and opportunities offered through the Workforce Connection.


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.