July 21st will be a big day for early childhood in Summit County! Parents as Teachers™ (PAT), President and CEO Scott Hippert will visit Akron to see first-hand how the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) has successfully implemented their parent education program and how community collaboration has helped them successfully support hundreds of families. AMHA received a national award from PAT for innovation and other housing authorities have contacted AMHA about replicating their model.
Anthony W. O’Leary
“This is such an honor for our program and community” said AMHA Executive Director, Anthony W. O’Leary. “Nearly 3,000 children under the age of five live in AMHA housing, which gives us a unique opportunity to positively impact kindergarten readiness” said O’Leary. AMHA’s innovative delivery of early childhood programming has earned national recognition as well as several awards and has been cited as a model for other housing authorities across the country.
“A full day has been planned for Mr. Hippert’s visit so he can learn more about the value of early childhood in a community where a housing authority is focused on the educational success of its youngest residents.” said Richelle Wardell, Manager of AMHA’s Early Childhood Initiative (ECI). Hippert will begin his day in Akron attending a Summit County First Things First steering committee meeting. He recognizes the huge role community collaboration has played in AMHA’s success and is anxious to meet early childhood partners and learn more. After meetings with community leaders and AMHA families who participate in PAT, Hippert will attend a special early childhood event at the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake. (See attached for details.)
Since 2010, AMHA has been supporting hundreds of area families through Parents as Teachers. The program provides parenting information and support to local families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten. After a child begins kindergarten, efforts are made to connect families with community agencies who provide services to assure that children are reading at grade-level by the third grade. According to Derran Wimer, Executive Director of Summit Education Initiative, “AMHA’s educational programming plays a critical role in supporting the county’s Cradle to Career Alliance”.
It is fitting that this special event is being held at the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake which recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary. The Center provides a continuum of educational programs for residents from birth to adult. The Center helps families to move upwards and out of poverty by providing a comprehensive system of education, training, support and resources that are keys to improving personal opportunities and achieving self-sufficiency. Goals for the Center are to improve kindergarten readiness and third grade reading, and to increase employment in the neighborhood. The Center serves both AMHA and non-AMHA residents. (www.reachsummitlake.org)
About Parents as Teachers
Founded in Missouri in 1984, Parents as Teachers serves nearly 250,000 families in all 50 U.S. states and six other countries. Its internationally recognized network of affiliates uses an evidence-based model to deliver parent education primarily through personal visits and group meetings, equipping parents with knowledge and resources to prepare their children, from birth through kindergarten, for a stronger start in life and greater success in school.
The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA), which began on January 27, 1938, is a public agency chartered by the State of Ohio, and funded in part by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to provide subsidized housing for eligible citizens of Summit County.