Helping Families Make the Most of the 14Y Community

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At the 14th Street Y, we are proud to offer excellent educational programs for young children. In our Preschool and signature Prelude to Preschool programs, outstanding teachers help toddlers and young children play, learn, and grow. But what makes these programs distinct is that the 14th Street Y is not just a preschool – we’re a community center. We don’t just provide quality education for children, we want to make sure that we are engaging with a child’s whole family, and helping each family discover the full range of opportunities available here. That’s where I come in.

In my role is as a Community Catalyst, I help families develop a sense of community at the 14th Street Y. When I meet with parents, even if their circumstances differ, I hear a common theme: as their child makes friends, parents are looking for their own connections – to other parents, and to a broader community of support.

Parents are so busy working, caring for their children, and organizing day-to-day necessities that they don’t always get the support they need. Often, we know how to offer support when a friend or family member is struggling, but I find that parents need connection just as much when things are going well. They want a true community, but they simply lack the bandwidth to make it happen. My role at the 14Y is to make that easier for you: to welcome families, facilitate connections between parents, and introduce them to all the 14Y community has to offer.

As part of my work as a facilitator, I make it easier for parents to communicate with one another and stay up to date about their child’s school experience. To streamline what can often be a hectic process, I set up private communication channels for each class, where parents can talk to each other and connect with me. These groups are helpful for planning and logistics for school events, but they serve another important purpose – they are a simple way for parents to develop and maintain their connections with one another. We encourage a vibrant tradition of family events out of school, beginning with this group chat – that may be playdates, picnics at playgrounds or seasonal class dinners. Our hope is that these connections build to robust relationships that last long after their child has moved on from that class.

One of the biggest advantages of being at the 14th Street Y for preschool is that we’ve got all these other classes and activities right in the building! I encourage parents to look at all the 14Y offers and look to me as a resource: I can facilitate activities at the 14th Street Y with other families who share the same interests. I’ve helped families set up many additional enrichment opportunities, including Jewish education, book clubs, and karate classes. Parents are also welcome to set up their own events. So far, I’ve worked with families who have put together community service projects and social activities for their child’s class. If your family has a topic or activity you’d like to explore, I invite you to get in touch with me!

I see my role as a Community Catalyst as a collaboration with parents and caregivers to craft the experience that works best for their family. If you are a parent who has a child enrolled in the 14th Street Y’s Preschool or signature Prelude to Preschool program, I would love to meet you and learn more about how I can help your whole family make the most of your 14Y experience. Please contact me to set up a coffee meetup. I look forward to welcoming you into our great and growing community!

 

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