GIVE BACK-pack Initiative

About the Program:

Launched in 2010, our GIVE BACK-pack initiative provides a backpack filled with school supplies to homeless or at-risk children graduating from Pre-K programs in the Greater Washington, DC area.

Each child receives:

Kit Includes:

  • 1 – Dual Blade Sharpener
  • 1 – Wide Ruled Spiral Notebook, 70CT
  • 1 – 0.28oz (8g) Glue Stick
  • 1 – 4oz White Glue
  • 1 – Premium Crayons, 24pk
  • 1 – Broadline Washable Markers, 8pk
  • 1 – Pink Bevelled Eraser
  • 1 – #2 HB Pencil, 12pk
  • 1 – 5″ Blunt Tip Scissors
  • 2 – 2-Pocket Folder, Assorted Colors
  • 1 – 16″ Classic backpack

Bright Beginnings Child Development Center – Partner since 2010:

Bright Beginnings serves about 186 children annually whose families are living in crisis shelters or transitional housing. Bright Beginnings, Inc. was established in 1991 by the Junior League of Washington, who identified a critical need for quality childcare among homeless families in Washington, D.C. Since then, Bright Beginnings have met the needs of over 1,500 homeless children by providing families with childcare and on-site therapeutic and family support services. In 2005, Bright Beginnings launched its Early Learning Evening Care Program that is open to all working families in need of safe, reliable evening care.

Bright Beginnings is dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of children and families living in homeless environments and was established to:

  • Provide children with a safe, nurturing educational environment,
  • Prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn,
  • and Support homeless parents to stabilize their home lives and become self-sufficient.

CentroNia – Partner since 2011:

CentroNia’s Early Childhood Program is a nationally recognized, multicultural learning community with a pioneering approach to bilingual education. They offer a welcoming environment that encourages intellectual adventure and provides guidance each step of the way for children and families to achieve their goals. Their full-day program for children from birth through age 5 lays the foundation for school readiness by working to develop the whole child in a dual-language environment. On any given day a child will learn through music, movement, gardening, technology and the visual arts.

They are also committed to supporting parents in their roles as their children’s first, and most important, teachers. They are committed to the highest quality of education and are proud to be accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Maryland State Department of Education.

andrea rodgers courage for kids House of Ruth – Partner since 2014:

House of Ruth’s Kidspace, founded in 1990, is a nationally accredited child development center for children ages six weeks through five years old.  The children are from families that are homeless and living at House of Ruth or other programs in the District of Columbia.

At Kidspace, children have individualized learning and care plans to help them achieve their highest potential.  In bright, engaging classrooms, each child is taught by nurturing, well-trained teachers.  The goals are to help the children develop skills and autonomy; to promote a life-long love of learning; to increase communication skills; and to promote positive development.

Being born into a homeless family is very hard on a little child.  In fact, every child entering Kidspace has delays across all developmental domains.  The enriched learning environment helps many of the children achieve their developmental milestones.  For children who need more help, speech and language therapy, psychotherapy and occupational therapy are provided on-site.

In addition to offering a safe, nurturing and educational environment for the children, Kidspace provides parents with counseling, support, advocacy and connection to resources in the community.  Social workers work directly with the parents to help them address their issues and involve them as positive actors in their child’s education.  Parents are expected to commit to improving the situation of the family.  Assistance is provided to parents with many issues, such as housing, education, training, health care, and employment.

Children who have special needs are given additional help.  The staff works closely with parents of these children to gain the resources to meet special needs once the child leaves Kidspace and enters kindergarten.

Andrea Rodgers Courage for KidsCampagna Center – Partner since 2014:

Early Head Start Program –
Early Head Start, a year-round program, serves children ages zero to three and expectant mothers. Offering a wide range of services that build social, emotional, intellectual, and physical skills in infants and toddlers, the program aims to intervene at the earliest age. Children and families also receive ongoing health and nutrition services, including medical and dental exams. Parents are also able to benefit from the support of Family Service Specialists who assist parents with their own educational and vocational goals.

The program provides services in three different ways to meet the individual needs of children and families:

  • Center-based settings – Operating in spaces donated by Alexandria City Public Schools, children are enrolled in a full-day program designed to foster all aspects of development. This service option is especially beneficial for parents who are employed and/or in school full time. Current sites include T.C. Williams High School, George Washington Middle School, and Jefferson-Houston School.
  • Home-based settings – On a weekly basis, a highly-qualified early childhood professional visits families in their houses, working with parents and children together in their homes to support all aspects of development. Group meetings with other parents receiving similar services are offered twice a month to help parents build relationships with other families.
  • Family child care – We contract with two community-based family child care providers who are trained to foster all aspects of development, similar to the experiences infants and toddlers have in our center-based programs. This service option is again especially suitable for families who are employed and/or in school full time.

Early Learning Center –

To address the needs of preschool children (ages two to five) who fail to qualify for Head Start services, we have created the Early Learning Center. Two classrooms serve 27 children through the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), which requires that parents meet certain income criteria.  These services are provided at no cost.   Additionally, one classroom provides high quality education for twenty children at a modest fee, year-round.   All classrooms are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and are star-rated.