BY SHANNON HECK, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING
Haley had clay in her hair and gray handprints dotted her shirt. She also had a beautiful smile on her face as she worked the clay to make her own pottery creation at summer camp.
Catelyn walked proudly into school on her first day of kindergarten, prepared and eager to learn, wearing her pink and blue backpack filled with school supplies.
Jack raced into the gym after school, eager to show his Imprints Cares teachers the “A” on his math test. They had provided homework help for him after school which helped him prepare.
For fifty years, Imprints Cares has been serving children and families in Forsyth County. In fact, we are the only educational nonprofit in our community that serves children from birth through elementary school. The stories above provide just a glimpse into the daily activities at Imprints Cares!
Because we believe that parents are their children’s first/best teachers, we offer a variety of programs to equip parents with the tools that they need to raise children who are socially, emotionally, and academically ready for school. And once children enter school, we provide before- and after-school enrichment programs at 24 local sites, including 11 Title 1 schools in the WS/FCS District. Imprints Cares also serves children with special needs with an Inclusion Program located at our Downtown location and the only full-day summer camp for children with special needs in Forsyth County.
One of Imprints Cares most impactful Ready for School programs is Parents as Teachers (PAT). Families enrolled in our PAT program receive two in-home visits per month. Family educators provide parenting tips, perform developmental assessments, and bring age-appropriate activities and books at every visit. Last year, Imprints Cares made nearly 3,000 home visits and delivered more than 4,000 books to PAT families. Berta Andrade, Director of Ready for School Programs, says, “Children who graduate from our Parents as Teachers program are healthier and score higher on kindergarten readiness assessments than their peers who do not receive our services.” She continues, “87% of our parents report reading with their children more than three times per week.” Strong evidence suggests that children who are read to often as preschoolers are much more likely to be proficient readers by the time they reach third grade.
The 1,600 Children enrolled in our Expanded Learning programs, located onsite at local schools, enjoy ample playtime, STEM and STEAM enrichment activities, homework help daily, and Fun Friday activities. More than 70% of our staff are teachers and school personnel, which creates a smooth transition from the school day to after-school care. Nikki McCormick, a longtime Expanded Learning parent with two children in the program, notes, “My son has really enjoyed interacting with all the teachers and school personnel. He is comfortable in his surroundings and loves knowing that even the teachers that he has never had know him and greet him warmly.” She continues, “My husband and I both work, and it is an incredible relief to know that my children are nurtured and well cared-for in the afternoons and on teacher workdays.”
Imprints Cares works for working families and is committed to expanding access to high-quality after-school care. There are significant gaps between students whose families have higher income and education levels and those students whose families have fewer advantages. Participation in quality after-school programming may close some of those achievement gaps for at-risk students by exposing them to after-school activities that focus on academic and social-emotional learning opportunities. Imprints Cares also partners with the WS/FCS Nutrition Department to offer hot suppers to the children enrolled in our 11 Title 1 schools. About 300 children per night are taking advantage of this opportunity. Last year, Imprints Cares provided $150,000 in scholarships for children to attend our Expanded Learning programs. However, the demand for scholarships exceeds our ability to fund. I hope that you will join us as we celebrate 50 Years of Caring for Forsyth County families. Let’s make Forsyth County a great place to be a kid for children like Haley, Catelyn, and Jack!
To learn more about our programs, please visit ImprintsCares.org