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Thinking Young

GPC puts focus, goals on helping children

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 7:00 a.m. CDT

Last month, I wrote about the Community Foundation of Grundy County’s unrestricted grants, which is one aspect of our programs. I’m going to take the next couple months to discuss some of the other aspects of our programs.

Part of the Community Foundation’s role is to convene community partners who share common interests in order to improve the quality of life in Grundy County. The Community Foundation is part of several collaborations; today I’m going to focus on the Grundy Partnership for Children.

The Grundy Partnership for Children came together in 2003 as a result of a 5-year partnership between the Community Foundation and the Grand Victoria Foundation. This partnership required the Foundation to focus on three main areas: childcare, land use and protection, and workforce development. The same year, the Foundation hosted a Child Care Summit for area professionals who serve families with young children. The Birth to Five Network was formed from this summit. 

It was during this time the focus of this group was expanded from “childcare” to “early childhood care and education” to encompass school aged children In 2009, the collaboration’s name changed from The Birth to Five Network to the Grundy Partnership for Children (GPC).  With the technical assistance of Positive Parenting DuPage, GPC spent much of 2011 and 2012 assessing needs and setting goals around healthy development of young children. 

GPC’s three goals are: increase parental awareness of healthy child development; ensure children have access to developmental screenings; and increase highly qualified and well prepared professionals. Over the last two years, GPC has been making progress on each of the above goals. Knowing the need for early detection, GPC has helped promote free developmental screenings performed by our partner agencies, such as Easter Seals and Child and Family Connections #15. In addition to promoting screenings, we recently created and began distributing Born Learning booklets.

Often new parents receive information pertaining to feeding, cord care, SIDS, and vaccinations from their doctor or hospital, but there isn’t much information given to new parents around child development. Born Learning is a guide to your child’s development that is broken down into ages and stages. Each age, ranging from birth to age 5, has a short one-page guide to what parents can expect children to be capable of doing at that specific age. The information is written in a manner that is easy to understand.

Although the Born Learning material is a great guide, it is not meant to be used by parents to diagnose a child with a developmental delay. It is simply a guide that suggests normal child development at each age and recommends speaking to your pediatrician if you have concerns. 

GPC is partnering with Representative Pam Roth to host a Summer Activities Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16 at the Morris VFW.  Any organization offering summer activities for children is welcome to attend. The goal is to have families attend the expo to get information on summer activities in the area as well as register their children for activities. For more information on this event, you may email devan@cfgrundycounty.com or jessicafoxd75@gmail.com.

GPC has also begun conversations about hosting a youth forum in Grundy County this fall, so you can expect to hear more about this in the coming months. 

GPC meets the fourth Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon in the Grundy County Housing Authority Conference Room in the Business and Technology Center in Morris. We are always looking for new members who have a passion for promoting healthy childhood development. For more information on GPC, please email grundypartnershipforchildren@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.

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