Baby Pantry is located in the Starting Points office and stocked through donations and contributions for local families in need of baby food, formula, diapers, children’s clothes, and bed linens. There is also a mobile outreach site at the Paw Paw Library.
Bonding with Books distributes books each month to about 170 children in the Starting Points playgroup, area childcare centers, Paw Paw Public Library, Head Start, and Early Head Start children in the county. More than 725 books were distributed last year. Each month Children in these programs receive a packet containing a new book and other items such as Highlights magazines, book marks, coloring sheets, and more. Information is included for parents about community events, parenting, reading tips, and library information.
Bonding with Sprouts is an environmental learning experience. It takes place at Little Learners Village Child Development Center and starts children on a path of growing and eating their own food and being more observant of nature at an earlier age. Using the strong collaboration built through our early childhood literacy project, “Bonding with Sprouts” uses the Eat/Play/Grow curriculum as a base for education and activities. A literacy-based approach is used to translate complex health concepts to diverse audiences. The overall goal is to help children stay at a healthy weight by improving food choices and increasing physical activity.
Camp MoCo is made up of summer day camps held at various Morgan County schools. These day-long programs focus on science, technology, literacy, and physical activities. Programs are free to all upcoming kindergarten through 5th grade students in Morgan County. Breakfast, lunch, and a snack are provided. Click here to see the 2017 flyer. Click here to download the 2017 application. Click here to download the 2017 health form. Make a note on your application if transportation is problem and we can talk about possible accommodation.
Playgroup is designed for children from birth to five years of age in the company of their parent or guardian. Playgroup is held in the Starting Points office and offers an opportunity for peer mentoring and support, information sharing, and a setting to build social connections. Guest speakers address developmental stages and health, nutrition, and wellness issues. Families receive resource materials and information on upcoming events and activities in the community. Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Summer Playgroup is a great opportunity for preschool kids to spend time with other kids. Four days a week for two weeks in the summer kids gather to socialize in a safe, familiar, and informal setting. Kids practice their growing social skills such as sharing, not being shy, and cleaning up while the grown-ups get a much-needed dose of emotional and intellectual support. Click here to see the 2017 flyer.
Budgeting and Financial Literacy is aimed at creating healthy financial practices. Families meet with our case manager to review their financial situation, establish family financial goals, and review family income and expenses. They explore how their income and expenses relate to their established goals. Further work involves adjusting expenses, planning bill payment schedules, working to obtain a relationship with a bank, and learning to follow their budget within a determined time frame. Fully understanding what is needed as opposed to what is wanted often involves changes in lifestyle and behaviors.
Family Mentoring can help break the cycle of poverty and frustration for a family struggling to be self-sufficient and successful. Mentors help families define and achieve goals, connect with community resources, and recognize their own strengths.
Family Partnership was created to empower families to break the cycle of dependence, move toward a higher degree of self-sufficiency, and foster strong family units. The program provides an integrated case management approach for families.
Partners in Prevention is a statewide collaboration. It offers community awareness activities and parent workshops to reduce the potential for child abuse and neglect.
Food and Nutrition
Backpacks is a collaborative effort between Starting Points, Morgan County Board of Education, community volunteers, and donors that provides food to school children. Prepackaged and canned food is assembled by volunteers on Thursdays at the Board of Education and sent home on Fridays with school children who struggle with food resources on weekends. About 370 children receive these meals each week. Donations are an important part of this program, click here to learn more about how you can help.
Cheap Eats teaches families how to create nutritious meals on a budget with limited grocery and fresh produce resources. The program targets western Morgan County. Click here to see the flyer for one of our events.
Mealtime Community Kitchen is facilitated by volunteers from many different groups drawn from the faith community, local businesses, and residents. Meals are served in the Starting Points kitchen at no charge, although donations are welcomed. About 22,000 meals are served each year. Join us Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.