• Clarkston Families Decide

    Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation


  • Sharing Dreams, Taking Action

    Vision and Voice Parent Leadership Institute


  • Strengthening from within

    By equipping entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to succeed

    VilCap – Start Clarkston


  • Public Art

    Brings people together to transform their community


VilCap Start |Public Art | CRSA Community Trust | Vision & Voice | Focus Areas | Storytelling|Community Festival|Building Capacity|Active Living|Safe Walking

All people can participate in
recreating their communities.


From events to community reports to all the good growing in Clarkston, there is sure to be some reading of interest.

    August 22nd 2014

    After school program directors, staff, and others concerned about youth met during the summer to develop projects to support after school programs.  Plans for these projects will be finalized in August, so watch for an announcement in September!

    Funding for the projects is from the first CDF Community Trust process (2013-2014).  Up to $50,000 will be allocated for the Clarkston After School collaborative and related activities.

    August 21st 2014

    The Clarkston Early Learning Network (CELN) met August 20 at the Clarkston Library to share information about existing, new, and proposed programs and activities serving Clarkston families and young children. Exciting programs for children and pre-school teachers offered by the Carlos Museum and early childhood courses offered by Georgia Piedmont Technical College were presented.

    Reports included an update of the CDF Early Learning Community Trust and the family child care training offered by CPACS and IRC. Attendees discussed state requirements for starting up a family child care home business. Lynn Manfredi, a Decatur family child care provider, author, officer in the Georgia Family Child Care Association, and national expert shared her experiences.

    CELN meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.at the Clarkston Library.

    August 20th 2014

    More than 100 participants gathered at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center the evening of August 7 to take part in the second Early Learning Community Trust meeting.  The mainly Clarkston residents were asked to prioritize the issues or themes that are important to ensure that Clarkston’s babies, infants, and toddlers are healthy, nurtured, prepared for, and successful in school — and reading on grade level by third grade.


    The evening began with participants greeting one another in seven languages:  Burmese, Nepali, Somali, Amharic, Dinka, Arabic, and English. Following introductions, participants worked in small groups and engaged in facilitated conversations about early learning issues, assisted by interpreters.

    Language and culture, as well as family engagement, were consistent themes expressed during the evening. Participants in all of the groups spoke of their desire to ensure that children learn both English and their home language, and that families as well as other caregivers and staff understood that learning the home language provides a foundation for learning English.

    Five priority issues identified at the July Trust meeting were discussed and reviewed by the small groups.  Then, participants ranked the five issues, from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important. The numbers were counted, and the top priority was announced that evening.  The issue selected is:

    “Early care and education centers.  There are quality early care and education centers serving Clarkston families, where home language and respect for culture are an integral part of the curriculum and where families are trained and employed as aides and teachers.”

    The next Early Learning Community Trust meeting is scheduled for September 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center. At this meeting, participants will  brainstorm a list of projects to help ensure quality early care and education centers – projects that could be funded with the $50,000 in the Community Trust fund.

    At the September 6 meeting, Community Trustees (50% families) will be selected.  They will meet following the September 6 meeting to review the list of projects and will prioritize the top five or six projects based on need, feasibility, impact, and sustainability.  These prioritized projects will be shared with residents at the next Trust meeting, scheduled for September 18, 6 p.m. at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center.  At this meeting, residents will be invited to further review the projects and will use a forced ranking process to select one project to implement.

    Following the September 18 meeting, the Early Learning Community Trustees will develop a project implementation plan, including a budget and time table, with project activities beginning in January 2015.


    The CDF Community Trust is a participatory, direct democracy model that provides local residents the opportunity to determine for themselves the allocation of funds and resources to address local community priorities.  The CDF model borrows from various participatory, direct democracy processes, utilized around the world, such as participatory budgeting.  The CDF Community Trust, however, is distinct in its application of community development and consensus building principles, as well as its use of unique approaches to funding and local trust sustainability.  The CDF Early Learning Community Trust is funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the Foundation’s early learning and family engagement initiative. 


    August 14th 2014

    Notes from the August 2014 CDF Early Learning Community Trust Meeting are found below.  These are the unedited notes that were recorded in the facilitated small groups with only minor formatting edits.


    Notes from August 7, 2014 Clarkston Families Decide Early Learning Community Trust

    Group 1.  Arabic and Somali

    Opening Question: Who helped you learn?

    • Mother: Arabic/English dictionary
    • Afterschool program
    • Government programs helped with language
    • Older siblings
    • Both parents: mother and father
    • Language school in Europe


    Importance of Language

    • Understanding of home language for better communication
    • Consider “odd” the children who do not speak home language
    • Learn early in both languages to communicate in both communities (Somali, American)
    • Open doors for them to be bilingual
    • Support of children learning both languages
    • Harder communication barriers with children
    • Teachers need to communicate in home language
    • Better home/school communication
    • Vacation back home, children cannot understand home language

    Early Care and Education Centers

    • Curriculum translated in home language
    • Somalian center (focus center) for all Somali

    Access to Health

    • Will this program go to age 18 and beyond?
    • Not a popular issue

    Community-Based Early Learning

    • Community Center having tutors

    Support Home-Based Caregivers

    • Keep culture together 

    Closing Reflection: What have you learned?

    • The community cares
    • Different ways to access health
    • Match our needs with help; recognize that we need support


    Group 2. Arabic

    Opening Discussion

    • Parents, family members, school helped us learn when we were young


    Home Language

    • It is important to speak Arabic in order to communicate with family and friends
    • English and home language are taught

    Access to Healthcare

    • Teachers and healthcare workers discuss and work on conflict with children

    Community Based/Home Learning

    • Help with access to healthcare and home language (combines goals)


    Group 3. Burmese

    Opening Discussion

    • Parents guided me (looked over school work); helped me to memorize ABC’s
    • Made us attend afterschool tutorials
    • Parents guided me on how to respect my elders
    • Parents told me about my culture
    • Parents put me on a schedule 


    Early Care and Education Centers

    • Teaching basic movements.  Ex: raising hands
    • We can teach our culture manners at home
    • Teach children about other cultures. I.e.: wearing veils, show different culture movies
    • Wear uniforms
    • Supply school supplies by childcare centers

    Home Language

    • Students miss graduation because of lack of clear communication
    • Use high school students to post flyers/information for interpreters
    • Children should be taught their original language
    • Original language is important for children
    • As first generation, parents need their children to speak their original language
    • In order to communicate with teachers and parents, government should hire more interpreters in schools to help prepare the students
    • Sometimes students don’t tell the parents what was told to them at school: more interpreters would help with communication

    Access to Health

    • Parents don’t always get information about Medicaid being out and they don’t have cash to pay when they go to the clinic—that’s why treatment is low
    • Have nurse at school
    • More teaching on hand washing and having supplies available for washing hands

    Community-Based Informal Programs

    • Government should support education (provide interpreters) in apartment complexes
    • Parents should be taught in apartment complexes at least one or two hours a day
    • If the parents don’t know anything, they can’t help the children to grow
    • The students should be taught afterschool at least 2 hours a day in apartment complexes: the government should provide interpreters to help with afterschool programs.  This will improve the Clarkston high schools and middle schools
    • Include elementary school in afterschool in apartments
    • This will help with children saying they don’t have homework when they do

    Support for Caregivers

    • Families should be supported with basic information and material for basic learning at home
    • Provide audio, booklets with pictures (children learn by vision)


    Group 4. Nepali (14 participants, 3 interpreters)


    Early Care and Education Centers

    • Starting early helps: start learning now, success later
    • Prevents isolation and loneliness—helps our children make friends
    • Analogy of building a home: build on a good and strong foundation
    • Our children become better communicators, better at expressing their feelings
    • They become smart and develop good habits
    • They can be better citizens who don’t need interpreters!
    • Start reading when they are very young
    • Learn English and Nepali!

    Awareness of the Importance of Language

    • So important!
    • Important because of religion
    • Important for transmission of culture
    • Both languages are important
    • Knowing more languages broadens your horizons
    • Children can be interpreters in our families
    • Being able to speak with parents, grandparents
    • Languages open doors to meet new people, to speak with everyone, make other friends
    • Children will get a better job, will help their résumés when they grow up
    • For culture, religion, family
    • Better communication within family (elders!), with teachers, and in community
    • “Language is our identity”

    Access to Health

    • We need to keep our children healthy
    • Nutrition, eating healthily
    • Good medication when we’re sick
    • Quality of life
    • To have Medicaid, insurance—this is our #1!
    • Pre-natal care, reproductive health, family planning
    • Hygiene
    • Transportation to the doctor, interpretation when we’re there

    Community-Based Informal Early Learning Programs

    • Need more education
    • Want home-based childcare
    • Limited number of centers—no more waiting lists!
    • Learning our culture, our language
    • Need more Parents as Teachers
    • Would make transportation easier
    • Food is also important—our children are used to eating our types of food, not American food yet
    • Building on community’s knowledge: in the community, we can learn from each other
    • More affordable for low-income

    Support for Clarkston’s Caregivers

    • Caregivers need education
    • Need for first aid, safety training
    • Want breastfeeding information, nutrition facts
    • Need for lots of training
    • More playgrounds, parks in apartments
    • More meeting together, a chance for caregivers to take a break
    • Need to know the rules and regulations – know the law of the county, not get fines
    • Training to decrease physical punishments in homes
    • More outdoor activities
    • Caregivers who know our culture


    • Engagement: Importance of language and community-based childcare with Nepali
    • Impact: Language makes a big difference
    • Feasible: Community-based programs
    • Language: Community-based programs

    What We Liked/Learned

    • Liked talking about childhood
    • Liked the meeting topics
    • “My own problems were sorted out”
    • “I was invited to build community, and that is what we did”
    • These topics are important
    • Meeting friends
    • “I am here to build community”
    • “We got the chance to share what matters to our community”
    • “We discussed so many things, and many of them were sorted out”


    Group 5. Amharic and Dinka


    Early Care and Education Centers

    • Teaching kids numbers, languages, art
    • Clarkston families will lead it
    • Afterschool

    Awareness/Importance of Home Language

    • Kids, teachers, parents, library, culture centers
    • Importance of English

    Access to Health

    • Enough nurses/first aid
    • Food: nutrition
    • Transportation to facilities
    • Language/interpretation

    Community-Based Early Learning Programs

    • Needing space: students teach?
    • Parents teach: who will pay?

    Supporting Clarkston’s Caregivers

    • To get formal license
    • Provide training
    • “American” protocols need to be followed
    • Safety
    • Toys/space

    Closing Reflection

    • Possible improvement: learned of possibilities with early childhood
    • Improve time: be on time
    • Like childcare food
    • Need more advertising
    • Include all cultures


    Group 6.  English

    Opening Question

    • Parents: reading, playing, interaction
    • Instilled importance of education
    • Also siblings
    • Teachers at school


    Early Care Centers

    • Ability to have programs that offer multi-cultural/language learning
    • Integrate multicultural language/care programs to reduce cliques and resource competition
    • Utilizing parent educators
    • Maintaining across-the-board standards to ensure equal opportunity

    Impact of Early Care Programs

    • Well-informed parents à responsible, educated, and socially-aware children
    • Children would be able to adapt well to preschool/Kindergarten
    • Parents would become educational partners
    • Increases creativity

    Importance of Language (Home Language)

    • The earlier the better
    • Cognitive benefits
    • Allows more open communication

    Access to Health

    • Impact: less of an impact than language learning
    • Strive to tie in language learning as preventative care for children/adults

    Community-Based Informal Early Learning Programs

    • Important, but standards and accountability must be ensured to produce positive results
    • Overlap; full daycare centers might already provide care

    Support for Clarkston’s Caregivers

    • Would increase multicultural interactions which would lead to a stronger community
    • Could be streamlined
    • Complement resources already available


    Group 7. English


    Access to Health

    • Add health services to mothers
    • Also add basic health services

    Community-Based Informal Early Learning Programs

    • Educational community events and making sure people are aware of them
    • Educate at Dunbar Elementary; use it as role-model because they do much of this work

    Criteria: Themes 1 and 4 are very similar.  The following pertains to both.

    • Training family members to work in centers could have big impact and be powerful.
    • Also is financially sustainable
    • Helps families become professional and builds capacity
    • #4 (community-based informal early learning programs) helps build community relationships beyond just the project
    • #3 (health) is very important, but there are many programs out there targeting it
    • #4 would help us identify all the skills and talents that are already present in the community and put them to work/use; provide space!
    • Early learning schools fill up quickly, and many parents cannot afford even subsidized fees, so #4 is crucial
    • #4 – interest in co-ops with parents of kids of similar ages
    • #1 and 5 – licensing people who have skills but are just lacking the proper credentials
    August 8th 2014

    What do 100 people who speak 7 languages have in common?  The answer is: a commitment to the health and development of Clarkston’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.  Over 100 Clarkston residents and others interested in early learning, attended the second CDF Early Learning Community Trust meeting August 7 at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center.  Many families were able to attend since free child care was available.  With assistance from interpreters, participants discussed and prioritized early learning themes and issues important to the development of Clarkston’s young children. Participants ranked the five issues prioritized at the previous meeting. 

    The priority issue selected for the September 6th meeting is:  ”Early care and education centers –  there will be quality early care and education centers serving Clarkston families, where home language and respect for culture are an integral part of the curriculum, and  where families are trained and employed as aides and teachers.”   


    Many groups contributed to the success of the evening, including Refugee Family Services, Mommy and Me, Somali American Community Center, Clarkston First Baptist Church, and International Languages and Cultural Services, Inc. The next Trust meeting is September 6, 6 p.m., at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center.  During this meeting, participants will brainstorm projects based on the priority issue and select Trustees who will guide the implementation process.  The final project, to be funded through the $50,000 trust, will be selected at the September l8 meeting, l0:30 a.m., also at the Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Resource Center.


    The CDF Early Learning Community Trust is funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the Foundation’s early learning and family engagement initiative.


    July 22nd 2014

    Relationships are the heart of everything we do at CDF, and the first early learning community trust session held July 12, 2014, was no exception.  The event attended by 57 families and others concerned about early learning. It provided an opportunity for a lively dialogue in multiple languages around babies, infants, and toddlers — their needs and those of their families.


    Participants at the July 12 Trust included:   families, public officials, students, representatives from GeorgiaPiedmont Technical College, agency representatives, and concerned citizens.  Because child care was provided, many families with young children were able to attend.


    Several families reported that this was the first time someone asked their opinion about what matters to them. Others were very articulate about what they saw as early learning needs for families and for the community. Many spoke of the importance of the early years to learning. They spoke of the importance of children being talked and read to in their home language, as competency in the home language helps build the foundation for learning English — and for connecting children to family members as well as to their culture.

    The Clarkston Families Decide Early Learning Community Trust was designed to engage families in choosing an early learning project to be funded through a trust fund. The trust process is funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through its early learning and family engagement initiative as well as through private donations to CDF.

    At the July 12 Trust event, participants chose their language groups. Each group was led by a facilitator and an interpreter when needed. Languages included English, Arabic, Burmese, and Nepali.

    The discussions were lively as the groups discussed issues related to Clarkston’s young children, birth through eight, to ensure that they are healthy, nurtured, and prepared for school.

    The early learning issues were recorded on flip charts.  At the end of the session participants were given “dots” and asked to put them on the issues that were most important to them.

    The prioritized issues are:

    Early care and education centers:  Quality early care and education centers serve Clarkston families.  Home language and respect for culture are an integral part of the curriculum, and families are trained and employed as aides and teachers.

    Awareness of the importance of language, including home language:  Families, early learning staff, teachers, and others are aware of the importance of a rich language environment, including home language, for all children.

    Access to Health:  Health services are available for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

    Community-based informal early learning programs:  Early learning, literacy and home visiting programs are developed with families and might be located in apartments, homes, churches/mosques, parks, and other community places.

    Support for Clarkston’s caregivers:  Home-based caregivers and family child care providers are supported by the community and receive coaching, materials, workshops, and opportunities for connecting with each other.

    Language, culture, and family engagement were themes that cut across all of the groups, and are two of the criteria used to select the final issue and the project to be funded.

    The next session, on August 7, 6:00 p.m., at the Clarkston First Baptist K.D. Moore Family Community Center, will be an opportunity to further discuss these five issues and prioritize one issue through a ranking process. Over the next two months, participants will brainstorm early learning projects that will have an impact on the priority issue, and families will select one project to be funded.

    An added benefit to the trust events is the relationships that are formed.  We at CDF are beginning to hear about these connections.  CDF invites you to share the connections you have made.


    The Community Trust is a participatory, direct democracy model that provides local residents the opportunity to determine for themselves the allocation of funds and resources to address local community priorities. The Trust model borrows from various participatory, direct democracy processes utilized around the world, such as participatory budgeting. The CDF Community Trust, however, is distinct in its application of community development principles, and consensus-based democratic ideals, as well as its consideration of novel approaches to funding, and local trust sustainability.

    July 21st 2014

    Notes from the July 2014 meeting of the CDF Early Learning Community Trust Meeting are found below. These are the unedited notes that were recorded in the facilitated small groups with only minor formatting edits.


    Notes from July 12, 2014 Clarkston Families Decide Early Learning Community Trust

    Group 2. Arabic

    Opening Question: Why are you attending today?

    • Looking for a place for a child
    • Looking for a job  – four people
    • Wanting to build community
    • Want to learn about what is happening in community
    • Concerns about Clarkston schools
    • Share resources/information
    • Wanting to connect with others
    • Find child care
    • Learn about opportunities for children


    Defining Early Learning:  What’s important for kids?  For families?

    • Babies need clean conditions, good sanitation, safety
    • There are hygiene problems with centers
    • Trustworthy child care (to be able to work)
    • Quality childcare with structure and learning
    • Attentive childcare workers
    • Need to feel safe leaving baby
    • Babies learning English and social skills, English AND native language
    • Want Arabic at school (for better communication between parents and their children).
    • Language is SO important – for relationships, religion, community
    • Language tied with religious education


    • Awareness that development is different for every child
    • The impact conflict has on child’s health
    • Nutrition
    • Good doctors
    • Need for information about iron deficiency
    • WIC and PediaSure – need milk, vitamins
    • Clean facilities related to health
    • Hygiene awareness – health regulations enforced
    • Mental health very important
    • Development by learning stories, seeing pictures
    • Importance of physical touch

    Importance of Home and Native Language

    • With religion, so important
    • Communication between parents and children
    • Parent-child relationships
    • For maintaining ties to extended family
    • Increased future opportunities if they know Arabic

    Community, and early learning places and activities

    • Open more day cares
    • More day cares = more jobs and better education
    • Parents can become teachers

    Informal caregivers

    • Need to be monitored
    • Need good communication
    • (Parents) want to be certified to do this work
    • (Can) support Arabic learning, community, and economy
    • Have English AND native language teachers

    Literacy and Language

    • In education, no written Arabic materials
    • Need language groups at libraries, at pharmacy

    Group 3. Nepali

    Opening Question: Why is Early Learning Important?

    • Through PAT we can identify challenges and learn good ways to help children grow
    • Can watch and make sure progress is being made (age appropriate)
    • Physical, social, and mental development
    • To prepare child for life
    • For a better life and not as much struggle
    • Starting early, makes it easier in the future
    • If the foundation is strong, the home is strong
    • It helps children be ready for school
    • Education is important to make child’s life better
    • How can I best teach my child if I do not know English? (language barriers)




    • Medicaid (how to pay for services)
    • Transportation
    • Language barriers – when calling to make appointment, hard to do so
    • Language line is not available everywhere
    • Physical interpreter is needed
    • Hard to communicate through phone
    • Must use mix of Nepali and English – Face to Face
    • Can’t see the problem the patient is trying to communicate; may not know the words to explain
    • Lack of money to buy toys or exercise type of equipment
    • Education for parents about how to teach children about health

    Home Language

    • Child play and multi-language play environments – how to play in context of so many languages
    • Role of home language development in family-communications with elders and family

    Community early learning activities

    • More places and activities to take children to
    • Want public play area near library for children

    Informal Caregivers/family child care homes

    • Training for home based child care – qualifications are too high for less educated (need high school or GED)


    • Nepali language classes for children (need person)

    Barriers to Access Early Learning Programs

    • Lack of interest
    • Lack of knowledge of importance on ear0ly learning
    • Not from culture or history that puts high importance of parental involvement
    • Lack of time

    Community and Family Engagement

    • Don’t understand why they are important

    Group 4. English



    • Eye, dental, and health care of children – knowledge is key!
    • What knowledge is needed?
    • Medical professionals available within learning environments
    • Database for available resources (e.g., developmental milestones)
    • Training/information for non-native English speaking parents
    • Empower our interpreter community to facilitate
    • Community health fairs
    • RFS Parents as Teachers – local resources that address above needs; works within home

    Early Learning Places and Activities

    • Does the Clarkston community have a sufficient number of early learning places and activities?
    • No, there is a need for additional child care centers.  Current programs have long wait lists; additional in home day home/home school could be beneficial.
    • Early Learning workshops could provide parents and families with education of pertinent topics, group connections, as well as relationship building opportunities
    • Provide support (facilities, financial, volunteers) for existing programs

    Community and Family Engagement

    • How do we engage our community?
    • Daycares, home day care providers form partnerships that are focused on common goals
    • Offer pre-services for a sliding fee/or matching funds incentives
    • How do we create an awareness of the needs of the Clarkston early learning community?
    • Create forums or venues for collaboration
    • Get to know the culture and diversity of our Clarkston families, neighbors, and residents
    • Share the stories and successes of Clarkston with local, state, and federal communities


    Group 5. English

    Opening Questions: What do we want for babies and families? What is our Vision?

    • Multiple languages
    • Working together (community, family, children)
    • Children teach each other
    • Outdoor time
    • Expand  understanding of cultural values and practices
    • Must be a two-way dialogue (between teachers and families)
    • Teachers aware (of culture/values)
    • Early Learning places should be reflective
    • Safety – but not too much!
    • Play should be beauty
    • Reggio – learning is not all structure
    • So what is beauty and who decides?
    • Equal access for those with special needs
    • ALL Clarkston children
    • Trust
    • Children learning home language



    • First three years are critical
    • Cultures use incense – religious purposes – but not good for children
    • Kids here want processed food
    • No supermarket in Clarkston
    • More families doing their own gardens
    • Transportation
    • Issue of toxic stress – multiple levels – Jack Shonkoff

     Home or Native Language

    • Literacy – language in home language important
    • Are children from an area where girls are not allowed to have education?
    • (Need) translators in early learning centers
    • Need more parents interacting and reading to their children in all languages
    • (Parents/others) are not clear about the importance of children learning in home/native language; there is research yet not common knowledge

    Places for families to socialize with other families with young children; home visitors

    • It takes a village
    • Not enough places (for families to go) – churches, Clarkston Community Center
    • No rec center; no YWCA
    • Kids are isolated – limited language exposure
    • (Often) lack of supervision
    • Not learning from each other
    • Need to connect
    • (Families and children) need to get out of the house
    • Library needs more programs (resources)
    • Neighborhoods are different now
    • Ideas like co-ops
    • Parents work different shifts

    Informal Caregivers

    • Need more conversations/information about informal caregivers (family, friends and neighbors) – student project?  (Where are kids during the day? Who are they with?)
    • Mothers’ morning out?
    • Limited opportunities for families/relatives taking care of kids to get together
    • May be afraid of training/workshops/fear of the unknown.

    Literacy and Language

    • Doesn’t have to be just oral – can be pictures
    • Every language doesn’t have rhymes
    • Exposure to books IS important
    • Books in (family) language
    • Need to identify and train individuals from all the cultures to be educators/teachers

    Resources for Early Learning Programs

    • Want parents to come to programs but lack of interpreters
    • More partnership with Georgia Piedmont Technical College
    • More classes for parents
    • Centers need access to resources that exist
    • Pay is terrible in the field
    • Help for centers to meet licensing (standards) and best practices

    Parent Access/Barriers

    • Lack of knowledge of early learning resources
    • Very limited CAPS (child care subsidies) funds

    Community and Family Engagement

    • Early learning programs/schools are (often) frightened of parents
    • Parents don’t realize they have the power
    • Parents are intimidated
    • Child care centers and schools should tell parents their rights (IEP)


    Group 6. Arabic

    Facilitator: Samia; Note taker: Andy; Interpreter: Rashid

    Opening Discussion: Defining Early Learning

    • Acquiring English Language skills
    • Enrollment into schools – needs strong foundation – youth to choosing a college major
    • Desire to be bilingual – how to communicate with teachers
    • Afterschool programs – (need to be) culturally sensitive
    • Tutoring (within apartments – due to lack of transportation)
    • Women empowerment via communication
    • Re:  school involvement



    • Information when children get hurt in school
    • Need to address health issues in schools, birth to age 8
    • Comparatively, other countries address kids health concerns at a faster rate


    • Need more info and resources to supplement education (i.e., cannot complete homework)
    • Trouble enrolling children in preschool (when to enroll, how, spaces, etc.)

    Informal caregivers

    • Cultural sensitive caregiving
    • Caregivers wish to be paid for their services so they can financially support their families
    • Safety
    • Trust
    • Women’s Resource Center to empower women to help enroll children in preschool, school, and afterschool programs, and improve quality of life

    Language and Literacy

    • Proper translation services (filling out forms)
    • Better communications between parents and teachers
    • Afterschool programs (early learning programs) that foster home language and culture as well as English
    • Recording stories from refugee populations to have the stories preserved
    • Transportation
    • Afterschool  programs (early learning programs)  within community that will allow women to be affirmed that their children are receiving proper academic support, unlike in their schools that aren’t culturally sensitive
    • Daycare located in the community, where people can come together  – a centralized location which is accessible

    Families Accessing Care

    • Foster/support a child’s special talents and teach kids
    • Working more hours may decrease Medicaid/care benefits. This is compounded by the fear that their children might not receive proper afterschool (early learning) care; children’s parents are working overtime to earn extra wages – fear loss of Medicaid.

    Other issues

    • Holidays – excused absences (work/school) due to cultural holiday
    • Teach all the holidays
    • Apartment conditions
      • Unsafe conditions on the playgrounds
      • Parents are fined $10 if they allow children to play (Clarkston Oaks)
      • DMV interpretation to learn how to drive


    July 11th 2014

    Lorrie King, CDF’s Community Health Director, is working with IRC’s Summer Youth Camp to focus on health education.  Forty youth from 16 different countries had the opportunity to share health challenges and possible solutions. (more…)

    July 10th 2014

    Ten teens paired off to practice interviewing one another as part of the training for Know Your Neighbor.  Know Your Neighbor is a summer initiative of CDF’s to increase connectedness among teens, their peers, and neighbors.  This initiative involves walking door-to-door and asking residents how they feel about Clarkston, their gifts and talents, and generally getting to know what one another.  Each walk is supervised by 2 adults from CDF.

    During the last week in June, teens were trained on how to talk with people, ask questions, listen and take detailed notes.  They started exploring their neighborhoods July 1 and will walk the rest of the month.  The group has already met with 12 families and will continue to go from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Be on the lookout and say hi to your neighbors!

    July 10th 2014

    CDF is pleased to welcome two new community connectors:  Ameena Sulaiman and Betty Hasan-Amin.  The Community Connector Team will play substantial role in the process of building relationships in the community.  Both Ameena and Betty are Clarkston residents and bring great skills in knowing the needs and wants of their neighbors.  The Community Connector Team will work to link residents to existing projects in Clarkston, and bolster the overall feeling of community!

Relationships are the heart
of everything we do