Morris Daily Herald
February 11, 2014
by Devan Gagliardo, Program Director, Community Foundation of Grundy County
The Community Foundation of Grundy County might be best known for the work we do with donors and grant making. However, the foundation has much more to offer.
The Community Foundation also has a strong relationship with several local networks and collaborations. The Grundy Partnership for Children is one of these networks in which the foundation was instrumental in starting.
In 2003 the foundation entered a partnership with the Grand Victoria Foundation called Community Works. One of the three main focus areas of this partnership was child care, which prompted the foundation to host the first Child Care Summit in Grundy County.
From this summit began the Birth to Five Network, consisting of entities who served children from birth to 5 years old.
It wasn’t until 2009 that the Birth to Five Network expanded to include school aged children at which time the name was changed to the Grundy Partnership for Children.
Since 2009, GPC has evolved into a vibrant group of organizations passionate about early child development and school readiness.
GPC is a county-wide collaboration comprised of a variety of organizations that work to prepare children for school. GPC’s mission is to collaborate with organizations, stakeholders and community members to prepare young children in Grundy County for lifelong learning by identifying and addressing early childhood care and education issues.
GPC has developed three goals: Increase parental awareness of healthy childhood development; ensure children have access to developmental screenings; and increase highly qualified and well prepared professionals. Since developing these goals, GPC members have worked hard to reach these goals and have made steps in the right direction.
But as always, there is always more to do.
In 2012 and 2013, GPC put together and distributed Born Learning Materials.
These materials provide basic child development information for each stage of development that happens between the ages of birth to 5 years old. The material is easy to understand and available in both English and Spanish.
Born Learning Materials have been distributed to families at local events, as well as to local professionals who work with young children. With the help of our partner agencies, families in Grundy County have access to free developmental screenings for their children aged birth to 3 years old. Developmental screenings are performed numerous times a year in various locations throughout the county.
In fall 2013, GPC held a youth forum focusing on the effects of trauma on a child’s development. The event was very well attended and received positive feedback. Because of the success of our 2013 youth forum, we may look at making this an annual event.
Because the event was held during the day time hours, one of our main target populations, child care providers, were unable to attend.
Therefore, GPC is currently in the process of planning an evening event that will be tailored to child care providers.
In addition to this event, GPC has plans to reach out to more families this year by attending existing expos and health fairs where parents of young children will be in attendance and information about healthy child development can be disbursed.
The Grundy Partnership for Children has come a long way since its creation in 2003. GPC and its members continue to push forward to ensure the children of Grundy County are school ready.
GPC meets at 10 a.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Grundy County Housing Authority Conference Room located in the Business and Technology Center in Morris.
If you would like information about GPC, email [email protected] or visit “like” GPC on Facebook.