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ESC Annual Report 2018

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS Success Story BECOMING PART OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVES FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES! Through the work of the ESC’s Granby Head Start staff, they assisted the Sappington family with the Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity (HFH) application process. Just this year, they were selected to partner with the Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity (HFH) on their own home. Neosho Area Habitat is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to those who qualify and provide sweat equity at no profit and with no loan interest charged. Volunteers provide most of the labor, individuals and corporate donors provide money and materials to build Habitat houses. Partner families themselves invest hundreds of hours of labor-”sweat equity”- into building their homes and the homes of others. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving fund for Humanity that is used to build more homes. “Why does this matter? Homeownership—attained through prudent lending practices—confers benefits for the homeowner’s family and their surrounding community, including improved health and school performance for children, increased civic engagement and volunteering, reduced crime, and higher lifetime wealth,” according to US News’ writer, Robert Dietz in a blog titled “Why Homeownership Still Matters” Success Story QUALITY OF LIFE IS IMPROVED DUE TO HEAD START PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE Meet Vanessa Garcia, single mother of three children... “I can say that I often feel stressed and overwhelmed since I have the responsibility of being on my own with three children to raise, bills to pay, a household to run, school and a full time job, but only have 24 hours in the day. Although all these can be a little too much at times, I can say that I am in a better place that I was before because of Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area’s Head Start.” “I used to work overnights and about 60+ hours a week at a factory. Hardly ever spent quality time with my children and the little free time I had, I felt exhausted and wanted to be left alone. The loss of my mother and an unexpected separation led me to an emotional distress which was difficult to get out of.” “I decided I wanted more out of life. Spending more time with my children was a priority as well as bettering myself. I made the drastic step to change jobs and enroll back in college. It was a scary change for the kids and me. However, working at Head Start not only has given me time to be with my children, it also has given me the time to stay in college.” “My life is so much better now because I get to spend quality time with my children. I have obtained my Associate’s degree and hopefully my Bachelor’s Degree in May 2019. I know of resources around my community. I even picked up the hobby of running which helps me to keep me sane. I just could simply not ask for a better life.” 30

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS Toxic Stress Partnership - ECONOMIC SECURITY CORPORATION OF SOUTHWEST AREA AND FREEMAN HEALTH SYSTEM Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area (ESC) and Freeman Health System applied for and received a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics for the purpose of increasing collaboration of pediatricians and early childhood education providers to identify and mitigate toxic stress for families served. The partnership set out to accomplish this in three ways: 1. Physicians and Early Childhood Education Providers will develop a sustainable partnership to improve the identification of families at risk for toxic stress and to connect them to resources to enhance protective factors 2. Children will have regular assessments for stressors and protective factors 3. Families of children at risk for toxic stress will be supported by a multidisciplinary approach that includes childcare and pediatrician partners We created a multidisciplinary team called the Childhood Resiliency Council (CRC). This team included representatives from the ESC’s Head Start, Freeman Hospital pediatricians and staff, Joplin Schools, Ozark Center and parents in the community. The formation of the Childhood Resiliency Council was the first step in increasing awareness between backbone organizations that are critical to identifying, assessing, and treating toxic stress. Monthly meetings gradually built trust among partners, deepened understanding, and increased interest in the topic. To increase awareness of toxic stress/ resiliency in the community, the CRC planned and facilitated a Toxic Stress and Resiliency Conference. ESC, Freeman Health System and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences sponsored the event. Speakers included a variety of medical and mental health professionals. Over 136 people attended, ranging from various medical fields, law enforcement, educators and crisis/ respite responders. The Childhood Resiliency Council also created a resource guide for use by both professionals and families. It explains what toxic stress is, why it occurs, and how resiliency can be improved. It asks families, in very health literate ways, questions to assess their needs, and provides contact information for local resources in clear categories where they can seek assistance. Some 5,000 printed resource guides have been distributed. The resource guide helped bring all relevant resources in one easily accessible place. The family-friendly format of this tool has already been used as a model for another local project, which provides information to family physicians in their clinics. Plans for training early childhood professionals about toxic stress screening techniques and resources are planned for 2018. Thanks to engagement during this project, the medical and early child education providers have a greater awareness of the topic of toxic stress, resilience, and traumainformed care. There is now a common vocabulary, and the same resource document is being used throughout the community. 31