The West Haven Community House exists to facilitate healthy, productive, independent and meaningful lives for individuals with disabilities, and children, adolescents, and families.
TOP ACCOMPLISHMENTS - FY 2013-2014, which ended June 30, 2014:
With more than 73 years of experience, the West Haven Community House (WHCH) has evolved to become a leader in identifying, collaborating and implementing services that meet the changing needs of the City of West Haven: its families, educational structure and socio-economic challenges.
The Community House has been at the forefront of meeting local needs through direct service provision and collaboration. We were responsible for West Haven’s first group licensed child care, the city’s first and only Head Start program, and the first residential living and vocational training facilities for adults with developmental disabilities.
The regional Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and West Haven Emergency Assistance Taskforce were launched by the Community House and we were instrumental in the creation of the West Haven Interagency Network for Children, the West Haven Family Resource Center, and West Haven Early Childhood Council.
In 2012, we are at the forefront of a collaboration with local providers and the Graustein Foundation’s Discovery program to improve the delivery of services to young children and their families in West Haven, and in April and May 2012 we have been working with local providers, local businessman Andy Eder, and Diane Frankenstein, author of “Reading Together,” to bring Ms. Frankenstein back to the region in October and November 2012 in a unified effort to increase the reading and comprehension skills of children, focusing on parents.
We are proud of our accomplishments, of our dedicated staff, and most of all, of the children and families, and adults with disabilities, who have moved forward with our assistance.
We will always strive to be the premier social service agency that our residents can rely on to provide leadership, innovation and assistance for the betterment of our entire community and we thank everyone for their ongoing support of our efforts.
Patricia StevensExecutive Director
With the onset of 2014, it is an opportune time to look back on the events of the past year at the West Haven Community House and report to our constituents on our progress and accomplishments, as well as our challenges.
In January 2013, the federal government announced its sequestration budget cuts that resulted in cutbacks to our Head Start pre‐school program resulting in a reduction of pre‐school openings from 163 to 144 children. The good news remains, however, that in June, we successfully “graduated” 100 children into Kindergarten with a real “head start” in life.
Our before and after school Child Care program continued to help working parents meet the challenges of arranging for care for their children before and/or after school hours. We served more than 300 children in this program. The afternoon hours between school closing and a parent returning home from work are especially critical, with many studies confirming what common sense already tells us – that unsupervised children home alone after school face many health, safety and physical risks. This is why our School Age Child Care and our Positive Youth Development enrichment programs are so valuable. Both programs fill that void for families, offering the supervision of caring adults, as well as timely and important program opportunities that include homework help, social skills development, physical play and exposure to the arts.
Particularly sad for us, during the blizzard of 2013, the agency family lost one of its own with the passing of long‐time Disability Services client Nick Pergolotti – referred to by many in our community as the “mayor of West Haven.” Nick was our client since 1984, and his life and personal situation is an excellent example of how our continuum of programs for adults with developmental disabilities has helped these individuals age in place. As a result of advances in medicine, individuals like Nick are living longer lives, many into their 70s. We have been fortunate to be able to adjust living quarters within our residential program to account for increased age and decreasing mobility – all to great success, as Nick’s many friends and family can attest. We have also been able to provide new services and programming to meet the needs of our clients, regardless of their individual circumstances, age or physical conditions. We currently serve more than 100 clients in our Disability Services component.
This is but a small sampling of the wonderful work that continues every day at the West Haven Community House. I know that you will agree with me that the West Haven Community House is dedicated to providing the citizens of West Haven with the best possible services.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, I ask you to please consider supporting us with a donation to ensure that we serve our community for many more years to come. Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy year in 2014 and beyond. Thank you for your support.
The following are from past parents comments sections on our parent surveys:
1. he loves it ... Thank you!
2. He had fun. He likes the crafts things he does and gets to bring home. He looks forward to this every year.
3. It keeps him extra busy, giving him a chance to interact with other children.
The adults who work with my son are just great, full of patience and understanding of my son's special needs.
4. I like the way they help for homework, and the crafts. Would like to see a little more activities, like music and dance.
5. My daughter loves the program and the price is right.
6. I would like to see the program extended longer and also more days throughout the week. It should be $25 for both sessions.
7. She has fun and has made a lot of friends. She likes how she's helped with her homework. I think it was a great idea for the Kids in the Neighborhood to be at the school.
8. He never complains about going. He would go more if it were offered. I hope this program continues for my child to go to while he is attending this school.
9. I wish it lasted until summer.
10. She loves Mr. Mike. He is helpful and friendly. All the staff is wonderful.
11. My child has a lot of fun playing with other kids and with the projects they do.
12. My son loves Kids in the Neighborhood. He looks forward to it.
13. The staff helped the children with their homework. I wish there was a summer program so children have something to do and not hang out in the streets.
14. Would like more days and longer time period. Looking forward to next season!
15. The program should be extended to five days a week. A few times his homework was not completed before play time. I think this is a wonderful program.
16. Very satisfied with program.
17. I like the fact that he is at an after-school program that I feel he's safe in and he really enjoys. I wish I could have him in more after-school activities but most are not affordable like this program.
WHCH School Age Child Care (SACC) program provides high quality, affordable before and after school care for working families in West Haven. The program is open to children enrolled in theWest Havenpublic elementary schools. Care is provided from 7 a.m. to school start, and from school dismissal until 6 p.m. The KinderKlub component for half-day kindergarten students operates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Care is also provided during school recesses and most holidays. Sites operate in six elementary schools. The program provides a safe, constructive place for children while their parents work or attend school. A mix of individual and group activities foster cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of the children. Activities include: homework help, computer use, arts & crafts; science; cultural explorations; free play with age-appropriate games and toys; gym and outdoor play; language, drama, music, service learning and leadership development. Children receive a healthy breakfast and snack.
Same as the long term program success: We provide parents/guardians a safe environment for their child both before and after school so that the parent/guardian can focus on their own job or schooling. Our program curriculum is geared toward having productive and educational activities that complement the school experience.
Our outcomes measurement focused on three major areas: Socialization, Cognitive and Physical abilities. In the “Socialization” subheading, children were scored on a scale of “Improved,” “Same” or “Negative Improvement” on the following criteria: “Overall” interaction with other children versus not participating; “Initiation” of positive age appropriate social interaction; “Ability to comfort others” who are sad or afraid; “Encouragement” of others; “Willingness” to continue to work on a skill or something that is difficult; “Ability” to teach others a new skill; “Cooperation” with others in the selection of activities; “Conflict resolution” skills, and, “Sportsmanship” in a competitive situation. In the “Cognitive” sub-heading, children were scored on the following criteria: Ability to follow three-step directions; Ability to communicate clearly in sentences; Listening skills; Ability to complete tasks begun; Ability to work alone; Use of board games, strategy games and puzzles; Follow and devise rules; Ability to relate events/stories in logical manner; Ability to predict what happens next in stories; Make age appropriate choices in social and recreational situations; Ability to adapt to a change of plans, and, Ability to handle disappointment. In the third category, “Physical,” children were scored on the following criteria: Age appropriate agility; age appropriate balance; age appropriate eye-hand coordination; ability to build and dismantle Legos, Mobilos, Construx, etc.; use of scissors; use of thread beads; use of a variety of drawing instruments and writing skills; use of large outdoor play structures; play in team ball games; participation in organized games, such as relay races and capture the flag. We also utilize both child and parent surveys to complement the outcome topics above. Daily interaction with parents and teachers are also important indicators.
Our collaboration with the West Haven Health Dept. on a number of topics including health and wellness and prevention of childhood obesity were particularly successful this past year (2010-2011). We have also expanded our efforts to attract and utilize volunteer interns, and have partnerships with the University of New Haven, Quinnipiac and Southern CT State University. We have found that the college interns are especially engaged to the needs of our children.
The Progress and Outcomes Report that details each Head Start students’ progress is generated through application of the Creative Curriculum Assessment Tool. The tool addresses the following areas: Social / Emotional Development, Physical Development, Cognitive Development, Language Development and Emergent Literacy. Our assessment tool is directly aligned with Connecticut’s Preschool Curriculum Framework, and the Head Start Child Development & Early Learning Framework. The step levels are identified, as follows, with the initial assessment of each student made each Fall, with progress assessments all completed in the following Spring.
In June 2011, a total of 94 children were successfully prepared and transitioned to Kindergarten. Assessment Tool statistics show that steady progress was made in all areas of development and that Head Start children were being well prepared for entry into Kindergarten based on individualized plans prepared for each child. For a full report of outcomes, please contact us.
People with disabilities – despite their challenges – have a lot to offer. During the 2010-2011 agency fiscal year, there were 77 clients served by the West Haven Community House’s “Community Connections” day program and they proved it in more ways than one. “Giving Back to the Community” was a major theme of the past year, and remains a strong emphasis for the program going forward, as it is valuable for everyone to understand that all people, including those with disabilities, are capable of helping others, even if it is in small ways. Indeed, clients put their good intentions into action with several major projects inWest Havenin the past year. This included raising funds for the Center for Disability Rights (CDR) by participating in that organization’s annual Wheelathon. Also, this past June 2011, clients joined withWest Haven’s Beautification Committee in helping clean up a number of city sites, including a flower bed at City Hall, areas within the city ofWest Haven’s historic Green and raking leaves for area veterans. In addition, clients wrote letters to our troops serving overseas and also collected items to send to the soldiers in 2011. The program also helps participants build socialization and daily living skills, and along those lines, other activities include: bowling, arts & crafts, baking, yoga, movement & exercise, gardening, picnics at the beach, field trips and more.
Residents are provided with individualized assistance based on their needs. Support ranges from help with hygiene, nutrition and other tasks of daily living to assistance with more advanced skills such as budgeting and social interaction. Residents are encouraged to set individual goals and to engage in recreational and social activities of interest to them. In addition, all of our residents attend a program that provides community activities or supported employment.
The most common definition of a “traditional family” is a social unit that consists of parents and children living together and also can include aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews. Folks in the West Haven Community House Residential program are lucky to include roommates, staff, friends and other WHCH clients in their definition of “family.” “Celebrating Family & Friends” was the theme this past year (2010-2011) at the annual Residential family event when WHCH residents, family members, friends and staff gathered at Anthony’s Oceanview restaurant to celebrate each other, to remember good times and to make new memories. There, Residential Director Davaul Amin served as the evening’s emcee and dinner program director. He read his own poem, “Babies,” whose message he deftly tied to the evening’s theme and how special it is to have “memories” and to share “good times” with families and friends. Also at the dinner-dance, photographs were taken of both the natural families and the extended Community House family members. At this event, we also remembered past clients who were a part of our extended family during the 26 years that Residential has been an established program at the Community House. Of course, when it comes to sharing a household, the evening dinner and the occasional outdoor picnic in the backyard are typical “family and friend” occurrences, as well as shared vacations. It’s all part of creating a “home” where one feels a part of a family. In the past year (2010-2011), 18 adults lived with their peers in our residential program, either in group homes with 24-hour support, or in supervised apartments with more limited support.
To all our Friends in the Greater West Haven Community:
Although we have been a fixture in West Haven for more than 73 years, I am often asked, “What exactly is the West Haven Community House?” It is a question with many answers.
If you ask the parent of a pre-school child in our Head Start program, they might say that we carefully guided their child’s first steps into the wonderful and exciting world of education.
For parents whose children are enrolled in our School Age Programs, they might say that we gave them “peace of mind” in knowing that we provided a safe and healthy environment where their child was enriched while having fun.
For the relatives of adult clients with learning disabilities, we might be described as a “trusted family partner,” ensuring that their loved one was safe, happy and able to build upon their independent living skills, as well as experience the community at-large around them.
So I can say that the Community House is all of the above, and I ask as we face the challenges ahead that people support our programs with a donation. Please see our web site at: www.whcommunityhoues.org for more donation information.
I would like to share two stories from our thousands of examples of service to children and families inWest Haven. Jackie Cruz’s story with the Community House goes back to when she was 4-years-old more than 20 years ago. As a young child coming from a Spanish-only speaking family, Jackie was enrolled in our Head Start program and it’s been a very happy story all around since then, as Jackie had her first learning experiences including working with numbers, reading and speaking English as a second language with us. Today, Jackie is our front desk receptionist and also assists in our School Age Child Care program, and continues as our Spanish translator, still so important in this day and age when so many families and children come to us with limited English speaking skills.
Another story I would like to relate: A family with two children in our School Age Program suffered a family setback including a very emotional departure of the father from the household due to personal issues. Yet, the Community House staff was there for this family, ensuring that the children continued to receive our services on a scholarship basis, as well as ongoing emotional support, and receiving emotional and financial support that helped ensure a happy holiday for all.
I hope you agree with me that the West Haven Community House is dedicated to providing the citizens ofWest Haven– from pre-school toddlers and school-aged children – to adults in our residential and day programs – with the best possible services.
On behalf of the Board, staff and clients we serve, I thank you for your consideration of a donation, and wish you a prosperity and good health.
Stacie Phan Board President
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
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