By Dianne Farkas
Family to Family Connection (a non-profit agency) has been providing services to families, with young children, for the past 13 years at the New Baby Center, located at Jones and Charleston. Until July of 2011, the program was primarily supported by a grant from the State of Nevada. Presently, Family to Family Connection has a grant from MGM Resorts, in addition to revenues from the annual TOUCH-A-TRUCK event.
Fortunately, an “ANGEL”- Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation, is providing donated space, utilities, maintenance, office equipment and other amenities to benefit families in our community. Family to Family Connection will continue to offer a calendar of classes designed to help families learn about age appropriate development, nutrition, safety and parenting skills. Families come to classes and have opportunities to connect with other families, creating important support systems, so frequently lacking in today’s lifestyle, but so critical to building strong families. New moms find support for breastfeeding and basic baby care. Toddlers have opportunities to learn social skills and pre-literacy skills, which will better prepare them to start kindergarten or pre-school, on the road to life-long learning.
There are some important, obvious, but often overlooked factors that require additional support in order to prepare children for school. If children have English as their second language and are attempting to learn two languages simultaneously, but their first language is primarily spoken in the home, how can we expect them to learn to read English by the third grade? Family to Family Connection addresses this issue by having bilingual classes, some classes in Spanish and classes designed to help Spanish speaking parents with their English skills, in addition to emphasizing the importance of speaking English to toddlers in the home.
Another critical issue for young children is – making sure that any special needs/developmental delays are identified, assessed and services are provided as early as possible. Early intervention programs provide these services to families with children under three years of age.
Dianne Farkas, M.S., Executive Director of Family to Family Connection for the past 13 years has a long history of advocacy for children and families and parent education. She is a counselor and certified in Reality Therapy/Choice Theory and Parent Effectiveness Training. Diannef2f@hotmail.com , Family to Family Connection, 4775 W. Teco Avenue, #115, Las Vegas, NV 89118 as of May 1, 2012 www.family2familylv.org .