Nonprofit Harlem Children's Zone Celebrates 15 Years of Providing Educational Parenting …

A nonprofit group that uses innovative ways to curb poverty has earned praises from the U.S president and several philanthropists for its efforts. The group is celebrating its 15th year of offering an educational parenting program, known as The Baby College.

school teacher on maternity leave

(Photo : Fiona Goodall| Getty Images News) school teacher on maternity leave

Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit group known for using innovative ways to curb poverty, is celebrating its 15th year of educating parents about parenthood. This program, known as The Baby College, targets parents who are expecting and those with toddlers.

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The Baby College includes nine consecutive Saturday classes, where students – the parents – learn more about parenthood. Lectures include nutrition, baby-proofing, communication skills, and brain development. Students will also learn the significance of reading to children.

Thousands of residents in Harlem, New York have participated in the program, with over 5,000 graduates to date. Recruitment is aggressive, as well. Outreach workers would knock on doors and talk to pregnant women on the street. Weekly home visits are also being conducted by staff members with participating families.

The Baby College also offers incentives for attendees, from providing children’s books and baby gates to free childcare and meals during classes. Students with perfect attendance are entitled to join a raffle, which is drawn at graduation. The winner will receive a free month’s worth of rent.

The weekly meeting at the school promotes the creation of a community among parents and soon-to-be parents, according to Dr. Joshua Sparrow, the director of Brazelton Touchpoints Center in Boston. He said this is one of the benefits of joining The Baby College.

“When parents don’t feel isolated, when they don’t feel alone, and they feel like they’ve got the support from others in their community, they’re much more likely to be able to be warm and responsive and sensitive in their interactions with their children,” Sparrow said.

Sparrow created The Baby College curriculum, along with pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton. The program promotes discipline without the use of corporal punishment. Instructors equip parents with studies suggesting that spanking can weaken emotional bonds and hinder brain development.

The organization has received praises from President Barack Obama and several philanthropists for its efforts. William Louis-Dreyfus, a French businessman and philanthropist based in the U.S, recently announced his $50 million donation to the nonprofit, Alexandra Staff of NPR News wrote.

Tags : harlem children’s zone, baby college, harlem

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