When did you first get involved with CCFI?
I began working with CCFI in 2001 when I became the Director of Early Childhood with Norman Public Schools. Kim Jackson, Linda Terrell and I worked on the Success by Six grant together. We received $80K to start the program, with funds flowing through United Way. Towards the end of my tenure as Director at NPS, a wonderful collaboration between multiple “Early Childhood Focused” entities in Norman began to grow into “Smart Start” Oklahoma. All of the above were set into place to engage the community’s awareness and call to action for enhancing healthy children birth to 6 years of age. The focus was to impart knowledge and model best practices to parents and caregivers of young children to ensure healthy relationships that developed healthy early brain development that lead to successful physical, cognitive and emotional development. The next level I enjoyed was collaborating with CCFI as NPS launched Parents As Teachers, providing salary and training for CCFI Parent Educators from the Bringing Up Baby staff. The most exciting development was combining both curricula used nationally by PAT, which was researched based, providing both NPS and CCFI with data over time to reflect our growth and success with parents, thus showing the impact and growth of healthier families and children birth to 3 Years. Two partners, NPS and CCFI driven to strengthen the child’s first teacher, the parents, in an effort to have healthier children and families. And I feel that partnership continues today.
Why were you moved to join CCFI as a Board Member?
After I retired from NPS, I was thrilled when I was contacted by CCFI with the request to join the Board. I found that part of me that has always connected with serving children and families and was ready to be engaged again!
What do you enjoy most about your service on the Board?
I enjoyed being part of our community that stays relevant to the needs of our families and children. The creativity, drive and commitment of my peers on the Board kept me learning and growing STILL! The implementation of Boys & Girls Club of Norman was so exciting to experience during my participation on the Board. How this community came together for this amazing program was beautiful to experience!
What do you feel is the biggest impact CCFI has made on the community?
Families NEED their community’s support and it is reflected so well through the CCFI service model. We all need to seek healing and empowerment to be the best we can be and become stronger and live healthy lives. Not all families come equipped with the skills and understanding to work toward that development. CCFI has made it clear and predictable that they are available to stand beside families and children to walk toward those goals… Healing Children, Empowering Youth and Strengthening Families.
What would you like to say to encourage others to get involved with CCFI, whether by donating or volunteering?
I would say jump in! We all have skill sets that enable us to contribute. CCFI can train new members along the way to develop additional tools that can be put into place. It takes all of us, not just a select few, to serve our community’s families and children. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences a member can have in our community.