Places Kids Grow Grants
The Kaleidoscope Project brought together a community committee to design a grant process, review applications, and award the grants. The committee members selected 12 organizations to receive $6,000 each to implement Kaleidoscope best practices to support the social emotional health of the children they serve in Wake County.
We are excited to share with you the winners of the grants and a little bit about their projects.
Community Committee Members
Yvonne Blair-Burnette,Teacher, Beginning and Beyond Child Development Center
Virginia Gray, Mayor, Town of Wendell
Ken Hisler, Assistant Director – Recreation, Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Dept.
Nicole Johnson, Regional Coordinator, Partners in Health and Wholeness, NC Council of Churches
LaTonya McKoy, Community Services Coordinator, DHIC, Inc.
Debbie Mugno, Non-Voting Member, Director of Education/Operations, Lucy Daniels Center
Shelia Reich, Executive Director, Youth Thrive
Nora Roehm, Community-Based Rehabilitative Services Provider
Ainsley Worrell, Health/Wellness Program Director, Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Dept.
Ross Yaeger, Northern Regional Center Director, Wake County Human Services
A Better Choice: Rise Up Services
Project: Abuelitas 911
This program will support immigrant mothers with the evidence-based Circle of Security Program training. Following the training, “abuelitas” act as surrogate mothers to the young moms and as surrogate grandmothers to their children. The mental health of young children is improved when their mothers have guidance, companionship and “family” support.
A Safe Place
Project: A Safe Gathering Place
This high quality child care facility is a re-purposed house. There is no common area that can be used for meetings, consultations, or a safe space for a child that needs time to calm down in a quiet environment. A storage area will be renovated into a multi-purpose space for staff, families and children. The renovation will make a difference at the center, but more importantly, it will provide a welcoming and nurturing space for the families and children who are struggling with a wide variety of social challenges such as homelessness, joblessness and racial disparity.
City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources
Project: Camp Kaleidoscope
This nature themed one-week camp, to be held at Walnut Creek Wetland Park, is especially designed for children 4 – 6 years old who are experiencing homelessness. Through a partnership with Raleigh Rescue Mission, this will be the first Raleigh Parks and Rec camp of its kind addressing young child mental health. The staff will be trained in ACEs and trauma informed care, focusing on outdoor activities with the children that often can’t access experiences like this while living in a shelter.
City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources
Project: All Children’s Nature Play at Durant Nature Preserve
Nature play has proven social, mental and physical benefits, but accessible nature play spaces for children of all abilities are not available in our community. While there are accessible traditional spaces available, none currently are in nature with natural play elements. This project will incorporate a nature play space along its accessible trail that leads through the woods to a lake.
Community Music School
Project: CMS’ Virtual Music Makerspace
Community Music School serves economically disadvantaged and at-risk children with high quality music education which helps to close the achievement gap, promotes self-discipline and self-confidence, and builds life skills such as the ability to communicate, solve problems, and work cooperatively. Community Music School will create a mobile listening lab in their waiting gallery so that students and families will have an extended opportunity to engage with musical elements. Six technology consoles will facilitate independent learning and access to online music resources for studying, jamming and practicing. Highly diverse musical playlists will highlight the finest examples of western classical music, folk music, jazz and world music.
Project: My Happy Place: Creating Environments that Support All Children
Preschool children are being expelled from classrooms at historic rates. If the child has undiagnosed special needs or who need help developing social emotional skills, yet the child care providers lack the funding or support for training related to young child mental health, expulsion might seem to be the only option. But, expulsion has long-term impact on the child and on the parents. My Happy Place is a training open to all Wake County child care providers (but targeted to those in Southeast Raleigh) that will empower about 60 teachers with practical skills and reduce the incidence of preschool expulsion in Wake County.
Dillard Drive Elementary School
Project: Care for Me Café
Turning the school cafeteria into a welcoming and engaging place where children can eat together, then engage in conversations and play with others will promote learning through social interaction and build a sense of inclusion and safety across diverse groups. Improvements will include flexible seating options (including some outside), quiet areas for games and reading, and a flat screen TV for videos about mindfulness and yoga. The new space will be conducive to parent visits during lunchtime. This project is being spearheaded by the school principal and a professional artist who is also a parent.
Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Project: Green, Yellow and Blue: The Building Blocks to Help Kids Grow
Located in a low-income area of Garner, the Avery Street Annex still attracts families, even though it is an outdated building. Three classrooms will be transformed into distinctive but cohesive spaces for quiet activities, imaginative activities, and art projects. A local artist will lead the renovation; new programming will include bi-weekly free activities for families. The family-centered activities are a focus of this project because parents have asked for them, and because a safe, nurturing space in which families and children can interact together is very important in the development of children’s social emotional skills.
Project: InterAct’s Spaces for Children Project
InterAct will focus on two areas used by the children whose families are receiving services for domestic and/or sexual violence at the Emergency Shelter and at the Family Safety and Empowerment Center. In the shelter, the addition of cozy, family friendly furniture, activities, and herb plants will help with stress and support stronger mother child relationships during a difficult time. The second area for improvement is the outdoor area families use to wait for the bus. Barrier shrubbery will create more physical safety; painted pavers and visually intriguing plantings will spark joy and curiosity.
Loaves and Fishes Ministry
Project: LAF Fun Bus Loaves and Fishes Ministry empowers low-income children and their families to overcome individual challenges and become more resilient to ACEs through long-term, holistic relationships. Activities are currently provided within limited space (with little outdoor space), so this grant will help retrofit an existing minibus with a fridge, grill, snack station, and room to store outdoor activities. Children can be transported in their new mobile activity center to area parks and green spaces. The children will paint the outside of the Fun Bus with their own designs.
North Ridge Elementary School
Project: Conscious Discipline Safe Spaces and Buddy Benches
All school staff are being trained in Conscious Discipline, and this grant make possible the creation of a Safe Space in every classroom and Buddy Benches on each playground. Each Safe Space will have a comfortable chair, soft rug, noise reduction headphones and small items to play with that help children manage elevated emotions. The Buddy Benches provide a place for children to sit if they don’t want to play; all students will learn how to be a helper if they see a student on the bench.
WakeMed Health and Hospitals – 1B Clinical Evaluation Area
Project: Growing Together in Safe Spaces
At WakeMed, four pediatric safety rooms and a day room are used for children who may be a safety risk to themselves or others to stay temporarily until inpatient placement can be found. The setting is dreary, unstimulating, and has no natural light source. The project will bring the outdoors inside by hiring an artist to paint nature themed outdoor murals throughout the space. They will create an indoor potted garden with plants that can thrive in artificial light. Additionally, a quiet corner will be created with soft furnishings so that children can read and decompress. Wake Med says,” These children matter so much to us. They are coming to us under extreme circumstances most times with traumatic backgrounds and labels on them. Let’s give them a safe place where they can … feel valued … and develop resiliency.”