Sparking Learning. Strengthening Families.

“I don’t know where we would have turned without Families First, They helped us in getting food and supplies. When there was the toilet paper shortage, they were getting us toilet paper. They helped us a lot.”

Victoria Talavera,
CHISPA parent

In Spanish, “CHISPA’’ means “spark.” CHISPA, specifically for the Spanish-speaking community in Gwinnett County, focuses on the early education of children, ages 0-5 years old. Our bilingual parent educators visit parents and children in their homes and provide parent leadership training as well as school transition and literacy activities.

Since August 2009, our Early Learning programs use the Parents as Teachers (PAT) method which utilizes an evidence-based early home visitation program to optimize early development, learning, and health of children by supporting and engaging parents and caregivers. It ensures parents with children ages 0-5 take an active role early on through parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being. PAT programs also offer personal home visits, health screenings, community connections, and play-and-learns with other children

“From facing eviction, to lost jobs and losing family members, our CHISPA families faced many challenges during the pandemic, With virtual learning, limited access to vital resources and the overall uncertainty that came with the pandemic, our team became ever more of a safety net for our families to ensure that the children continued to learn during these challenging times,” said Troya Jackson, CHISPA Program Manager.

Our team connects with families from school, church and health services referrals. During COVID many of these exchanges were virtual or outside in public spaces. The team continued to find creative ways for one-on-one, hour-long parent-child sessions that focus on recognizing letters, colors and shapes. The older kids work on other skills including reading and writing. A key component is the activity books the families can take home and work on together.

“We provide access and education on the tools, resources and support for families to be the first teachers at home,” said Soledad Ruiz, CHISPA Program Coordinator. “Even during COVID, we were able to get our families ready for their children to start school and encourage them to become leaders in their homes and communities.”

The CHISPA team also helps the families celebrate their cultural heritage with their children. Recently, the CHISPA families gathered to celebrate International Day of the Child as well as Hispanic Heritage Month. Everyone enjoyed sampling special recipes from the Hispanic countries represented by our families. Through CHISPA, we not only focus on early education for children and their families, but also celebrate their amazing cultures and Hispanic heritage.

As we look forward to celebrating National Parents as Teachers Day on November 8, we are thankful for all of the assistance of donors like you in helping our team spark learning for our CHISPA families.

CHISPA SUCCESS STORY

A.G., age 5, and his mom have been part of CHISPA since A.G. was 3. During initial observations and assessments, our parent educator detected a delay in A.G.’s communication skills and referred his mom to Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait Program, which helps families and special needs children from 0-3 years of age. Once he was evaluated and started receiving services, A.G. began using simple words. Our parent educator and his mom worked on his vocabulary during Play & Learn sessions and home visits. Once he aged out of the Babies Can’t Wait program, A.G. was referred to the Gwinnett County Public Schools Special Education Services. Through these services and CHISPA, A.G.’s vocabulary has increased, and he can communicate with sign language and words. AG and his mom are one of the many families our team are helping with early intervention and child development. A.G’s mom shares how thankful she is for CHISPA and how quickly her son got the support he needed to begin to thrive.