A $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will help more new parents care for their children. A Coachella Valley Spotlight was awarded to About Families, a local nonprofit that offers parenting classes and postpartum support – plus other resources from pregnancy through early childhood.
About Families offers classes to expecting and new parents, including newborn care, infant CPR and other safety classes, plus facilitates support groups for parents. Grant funds allow the nonprofit to offer many classes free of charge, while some require a small fee to cover instruction and materials. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish. Under the pandemic guidelines, classes are currently being held virtually. Once Covid-19 cases are minimal, grant funds will also allow for in-home visits for families requesting additional support in the weeks following childbirth.
“I have always believed that ‘it takes a village’ to raise a child, and that was the philosophy I built About Families on,” said the organization’s founder, Joanna Boles Whitlow. “When I was a new mother, and I could not find resources, like these, I thought ‘I can’t be alone,” so I reached out and found that village. Now, we are here for others.”
Whitlow says her primary focus for the funding is training and securing additional professionals in the About Families network in order to connect more people in collaborative and holistic ways, especially for those facing postpartum challenges.
“The peer-to-peer support that About Families offers is a proven benefit to people’s mental health, so they can talk with people who have gone through and are going through similar situations with a new baby at home,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
About Families opened a cooperative preschool, Mariposa Parent Child Workshop, in 2015. Before the pandemic, about 25 children, ages 2-5, attended the preschool weekly. To participate in the school, parents must volunteer at least four hours each week alongside the early childhood educators. The school plans to open at 50 percent capacity to current enrollees in October. In the meantime, grant funding has been used for improvements including installing a commercial grade air purifier, painting, upgrading the restrooms, and expanding the community garden by about 100 sq. ft.
“Because these upgrades to the preschool were able to move forward during the pandemic shutdown, kids and parents will have some nice surprises when they go back,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2.
Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, About Families was featured on News Channel 3 programming, in public service announcements and on kesq.com. For more information about the organization, call 760-342-7400 or go www.aboutfamiliesinc.com.