This year, our Women United (formerly Women’s Leadership Council) started a new partnership with Baby Talk, a program out of Waukegan, that identifies families with children ages birth-to-three in need of early intervention programming or preschool special education services. We interviewed Diana Nielander, Social Enterprise and Affinity Group Manager, on Women United’s (WU) involvement with this program.
What is Baby Talk?
Baby Talk is designed to locate, identify, and refer, as early as possible, at-risk children and their families who are in need of early intervention program or preschool special education services. The Baby Talk Program conducts screenings and assessments for any child, birth-to-three, who may need additional and special services. Once identified, home visits are initiated and scheduled anywhere from once a week to once a month depending on the need. The focus is fostering child development and key skills to ensure a strong and healthy start.
What is Women United’s connection to this program?
Baby Talk has just become Women United’s HUGS partner. HUGS is a special engagement project in which we wrap our time and resources around a program that needs support. Our first HUGS partner was Green Bay Early Learning Center in North Chicago. There, we volunteered our time reading to kids, celebrating their teachers and providing learning materials. Over two years, we provided a total of 1,100 learning bags. Each bag had one brand new book, in addition to other fun learning materials. Now we are thrilled to join forces with Baby Talk and help support their goals and enhance their program.
Which population/community does Baby Talk serve?
Baby Talk services at-risk children and their families living in Waukegan.
How will Women United support Baby Talk in 2018?
We will volunteer our time to support their monthly family meetings. We will host their learning stations and provide supportive materials and food as needed. It’s in the early stages, so we are still learning how to meet their needs, but we are beyond excited to begin this partnership.
What is the HUGS Committee?
The HUGS Committee helps Women United create the greatest possible community impact by mobilizing our volunteer efforts and in-kind resources. Together, the committee helps select our partners, organize our involvement, and determines how we will support them.
“The HUGS Committee partners with Lake County organizations in order to donate our time and resources to better enhance their programs. Our members really like to dig in to find ways to further the goals of that organization and service our Lake County community.” – Patrice Maloney-Knauff, WU Chair and HUGS Committee Co-Chair