Waterford Partners with Nonprofits to Pilot Early Learning Program for Homeless Children and Families

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Project Hope Alliance, a nonprofit organization committed to ending the cycle of homelessness for Orange County families through education and stable housing, recently launched its Bright Start pilot program using Waterford Institute and Every Monday Matters curriculum. Through Bright Start–the newest component of Project Hope Alliance’s education program–Orange County’s neediest children will receive the skills and knowledge they need to walk into the classroom and excel.

“Here at Project Hope Alliance, we see firsthand the impact of homelessness on our youngest clients,” says Project Hope Alliance CEO Jennifer Friend. “We know that homelessness in early childhood can lead to struggles with academic performance, classroom engagement and social skills in elementary school. We also know that, with the support of our community, children can overcome these obstacles.”

In its pilot stage, the Bright Start program will target 26 elementary-age children served by Project Hope Alliance’s programs. The organization provides each child with a laptop configured with the Waterford Early Learning reading, math and science curriculum as well as Internet access and take-home materials.

Waterford Early Learning is a comprehensive, computer-based K-2 curriculum designed by the nonprofit research center, Waterford Institute. With Waterford, children are provided an adaptive learning experience that is individualized to their unique abilities and needs.

During time with their volunteer mentor, students will also engage with Every Monday Matters curriculum to deepen their understanding of their own self worth, grow in their awareness of self and social responsibility, and build a stronger sense of self-confidence.

“Our goal is to have each child understand how much they matter in this world and to deeply appreciate how much they have to offer to the experience of those around them,” Friend said.

By pairing Waterford’s academic curriculum with inspirational curriculum crafted by Every Monday Matters, Bright Start will bring each child a structured, assessment and researched -based learning experience; the love, mentorship and support of a caring volunteer; and, finally, serve to empower their families with skills and strategies to best meet the needs of these early learners.

In bringing together these extraordinary partners to create Bright Start, Project Hope Alliance promises to spark an exciting and innovative approach to meeting the academic and socio-emotional needs of children experiencing homelessness. “This is a special opportunity to contribute to the outstanding work Project Hope Alliance is doing, while furthering our nonprofit mission of improving accessibility, equity and excellence for all our youngest learners to position them for a lifetime of learning and success,” Waterford President Benjamin Heuston said.

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