Building Stronger Families
The Building Stronger Families Wilmington project, funded by First 5 LA came about from the ideas and input of local Wilmington residents who were part of First 5 LA’s Best Start partnership. This group identified social isolation, especially among families with children age 0-5 as a significant factor that impacts health. This issue affects so many local residents - whether they are recent immigrants unfamiliar with the resources available to them or people who have been in the community for a long time, but who are fearful of exploring past their local neighborhood - who just don’t know where to go to build social connections.
Providence was selected as the lead agency for the Building Stronger Families Wilmington initiative and is now working with residents, local organizations, and educational consultants to improve access to social services for families and reduce social isolation. This is done through 4 components:
- Parent/resident Leadership Training Program: We are working with community partners to identify and build the capacity of at least 100 community residents, train them in leadership, advocacy, and wellness topics, and then supervise their placement in the field to provide outreach, classes, activities, and events that identify and support socially isolated parents of children age 0-5. The 30-hour trainings are led by Providence staff in partnership with SBCC Thrive LA, and numerous other partners who provide additional trainings in specialized topics (e.g. grief support, mental health first aid, etc.).
- Community events: At the end of the leadership training, the newly trained Community Leaders plan and implement an event in their neighborhood. These events are intended to attract other local residents who may be socially isolated, to build social connections and friendships between residents. Community leaders have planned and organized events such as a Health & Wellness resource fair where they invited local organizations to provide tools and information about services offered in the community. Over 100 community members attended this event. Other events so far have included a family day at the park, a resident-led talent show, a multi-cultural event that included performers and food from Latin American countries, a family game night, and a holiday community celebration.
- The Social Isolation Task Force consists of trained community leaders, Building Stronger Families staff, and partnering organizations. This task force identifies policies and practices that can be improved to help identify and support parents with children prenatal to age 5 who are socially isolated.
- Organizational capacity building: The Task Force members provide trainings to staff of Wilmington-based organizations to improve how they identify and serve socially isolated parents.