March 18, 2021 – Family Engagement

Resources from the Virtual Coffee:

Breakout Room Notes:

What has worked well for you and/or your organization:

  • COVID has provided more of an opportunity to engage with families; focused on trying to meet food sustainability in community
    • Donating meals to families
      • Partnered with restaurants; Individuals in community funded and solicited other donors – raised $500k
  • Outdoor programs with Alone vets to lead programs for kids (WA state)
  • Bi-weekly newsletter (used to go to mentors) – expanded to include mentee families
  • Drive-through breakfast for families
    • Provided breakfast burritos & hot chocolate; 3 different games; provided gas card
  • Parents are reaching out to more now with concern with how hard COVID has been on their kids (no sports, prom, etc); emailing and updating more
  • Reach out 1-3/month to families 
  • But want to formalize a strategy for families/parents 
  • Asking what is the best way to communicate with parents 
  • Telling parents we need their help to make a match successful
  • Monthly calls help a lot 
  • Listening to what they need as well 
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Trying to implement surveys and check ins with families as they want families to have more of a say in programming. 
  • Offered support to schools about family engagement without asking for anything in return and the schools have, in turn, started to see us as really valuable and are asking us to expand our program
  • We are hosting virtual cooking classes for some of the families and the classes are led by one of the moms of a youth in the program!
  • Take your time…put in the time to build the relationship. Don’t rush and cave to feelings of urgency. Say ‘yes’ to invitations from parents, guardians & families.
  • Dropping off gift cards for grocery and dropping off actual food was the change that we made that really brought families in…and helped them see our value.
    • The need is NOT over – we are still delivering food, gift cards, etc.
  • We had a Spanish-speaking program staff person in our group and we asked them the question: what should nonprofit leaders and staff know about using you as a resource to contact other case workers Spanish-speaking families: They replied: understand that because of cultural differences in values and behaviors…my work won’t necessarily fit into the predetermined policies and procedures of the organization. Organizations and bosses need to be flexible about how I do my work.

Questions/Resources Still Needed:

  • Ways to get families to show up more
  • Getting kids to the office or events (already providing food and transportation)
  • Surveys, getting parent feedback
  • Challenging due to staff turnover/vistas, and lack of staff capacity. It’s hard to keep rebuilding the relationship with the family.

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