Pilot program helps parents and kids

A new pilot program designed to promote economic self-sufficiency for Evanston families--and to enhance the academic and life success of their children has been launched by the Evanston Community Foundation.

The Evanston Two-Generation Education Initiative provides educational, financial and career guidance for parents and early education for their children up to age 6 through enrollment in community-partner programs.

A $100,000 grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute has made the Initiative possible. The program draws upon award-winning research from Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research and the foundation's ongoing kindergarten-to-workforce readiness initiative, Every Child Ready for Kindergarten, Every Youth Ready for Work.

A mix of community nonprofits and businesses have also come together to support the Initiative, including Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Family Center and Early Childhood Programs, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Childcare Center of Evanston, Evanston Public Library, Evanston/North Shore YWCA, Oakton Community College, National Able Network and IRMCO Manufacturing.

"Far too often families are so busy moving through life doing their best to meet their family's needs with little time to intentionally plan their future," said Artishia Hunter, Director of the Evanston Community Foundation's Two-Generation Education Initiative. "The Evanston Two-Generation pilot is designed to provide a setting for parents to explore their education and career options, and create a plan that outlines goals for becoming financially self-sufficient."

Hunter continued, "Research shows that a parent's motivation to improve their skills is often driven by their child's enrollment in high-quality early childhood programming. The pilot will build upon parents' motivation to pursue and achieve their career goals."

An IPR team, led by developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and senior research scientist Teresa Eckrich Sommer, are conducting research on the implementation and effectiveness of two-generation initiatives nationally, and in turn this research is being used to design, implement, and expand the pilot model in Evanston.

They also will be evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of the Evanston Two-Generation Education Initiative. To learn more about the Initiative and the research behind it, the public is invited to attend a policy research briefing on April 16, which is being co-sponsored by ECF.

That program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 16 at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave. Would-be attendees are asked to register online for the event by April 11.

Source: Evanston Community Foundation.