Hope Place offers event of hope

Published 9:56 pm Monday, April 8, 2013

It is much easier and more cost-efficient to build a healthy, productive child from birth than it is to remediate a troubled child, recapture a troublesome youth or rehabilitate an adult who is not contributing positively to society and the economy.
That statement – made by the Alabama Parnership for Children – is one reason a local organization is planning to help parents make that healthy start for children in our community.
Vickie Fussell, director at Hope Place, said a special day has been planned to allow parents, grandparents and other primary caregivers an opportunity to learn how best to interact with their children between the ages of birth to 5.
“Our purpose with this event is to give parents the opportunity to have fun and play with their children,” Fussell said. “All of this can be done while learning about child development.”
The play time, Fussell said, is a great time for interaction between parent and child. But, the interaction will also be a learning tool for the parents.
“An ‘Ages and Stages’ developmental screening tool will also be used to help parents understand typical and normal child development,” Fussell said. “Any developmental delays can be pinpointed with these activities and allow parents to learn about their own children and target areas of progress in specific areas. We can help identify things like hearing, seeing or other issues and help direct parents to resources in those areas.”
The event, planned for Thursday afternoon at the Brewton Area YMCA, is a partnership of Hope Place and the YMCA, Fussell said.
“This is a part of our ‘Strengtening Families’ initiative with the Alabama Partnership for Children,” Fussell said. “We’ve named the event ‘Books, Balls and Blocks’ to show our committment to the children in our community.”
Fussell said professionals will be on site for the event ot help score the Ages and Stages questionnaire to be completed by participant families.
“We will also have a follow-up from a professional to assess the responses to the questionnaire,” Fussell said. “They will be able to see if a child’s development is on schedule; if it needs to be monitored; provide learning activities; or to determine if they need further assessment with a professional.”
The event is free and a to-go supper will be provided for those who participate.
“We really wanted this to be as accessible as possible for everyone with infants, toddlers and pre-school children,” Fussell said. “We’ll have their supper bagged up and ready to go. That way parents can pick up their children from the sitter, pre-school or day care and come without worrying about getting dinner for the kids. We want this to be something everyone can enjoy and learn from for the sake of the children.”
Activities scheduled for the afternoon include a Belly Ball Roll, book making, a reading theatre and reading fort, shadow stories, ball target practice, Piggy’s brick house, Block Town, unit blocks, foam blocks, an obstcle course for all ages, sensory area and packing peanuts pool.
“All of the activities are age appropriate and will be learning experiences for the children and parents,” Fussell said. “We hope to have a great response and make this a regular event for our community.”
The Books, Balls and Blocks event will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday and conclude at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Hope Place at 867-4686.