North Chicago is a city that faces many problems and challenges. Composed of hard working families who generally earn a lower income than its neighboring towns, the city has long been negatively stigmatized and stereotyped. With fewer resources and more trials in front of them, the children from North Chicago face a great disadvantage. Despite this, the community is dedicated to changing the situation by providing opportunities for children to gain the skills necessary for success.
United Way’s Better Together Program was developed to increase the services available for North Chicago families with children birth to 3-years-old. This initiative started in the winter of 2016 and has been made possible through the joint support and effort of the Green Bay Early Childhood Center, Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Lake County and United Way of Lake County’s Success By 6 Program.
And today we reflect on the impact of this program as we finish our spring 2017 sessions…
Initially, the Better Together Program’s main goal was to educate parents on the important role they play as their children’s first teachers by providing a safe place where their children could play and develop the readiness, physical and cognitive skills crucial to their education. Yet, the program began so much more, moving beyond barriers—such as culture—giving the mothers a true sense of community.
Better Together became a place where parents focused on the growth and well-being of their children, as part of the transition to Kindergarten.
Meet the faces of a few of the mothers involved in the pilot year of Better Together:
Juana and her daughter Camila play using blocks.
Charlyn teaches Gavin the food groups.
Mothers Viridiana, Carolina, Martha and Juana (left to right) socialize while their children play.
The strength of this program comes from the support of our partners, volunteers and Better Together teacher, Ms. Sharon Lichtenstein. Click here for her reflection of the program featured in the next Better Together blog post.