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Growing Together

Our long-standing involvement in Growing Together reflects our deep-seated support of best practices in prevention and early intervention. This model of services and supports for families living in economically disadvantaged communities was recognized with the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit innovation in 1995. Growing Together is unique because it brings professionals and the community together to provide early intervention programs as well as the more typical prevention programs to improve the social, emotional and intellectual development of young children in high-risk areas.

In 2001 Invest in Kids launched the Cape Breton site, in partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia and the IWK Grace Health Centre - one of only a very few rural early intervention initiatives anywhere in Canada. Cape Breton now joins other Growing Together sites in Dartmouth (also in partnership with the IWK Grace Health Centre), Montreal (in partnership with the Cote de Neige CLSC and Ste. Justine Hospital) and Toronto (in partnership with the Hincks-Dellcrest Mental Health Centre and the Toronto Department of Public Health. Growing Together provides services and supports each year to 1,500 families with young children.

Growing Together - Saint James Town (Toronto, ON)

St. James Town, a high density receiving centre for thousands of new Canadians, was the original Growing Together site. For approximately 8 years, it has been reaching children and their families from many cultural and linguistic backgrounds through innovative prevention and early intervention programs and popular community events. Despite language barriers and the high mobility into and out of the neighbourhood, the community residents and professionals at Growing Together have developed 40 popular programs, activities and events to build on the strengths of the community and to meet its many needs. The high rates of participation and positive feedback make it clear that Growing Together is viewed as a useful and important resource for families with young children. Over the years, the St. James Town Growing Together project has benefited from the solid support from key service partners: the Hincks-Dellcrest Children's Mental Health Centre and the Toronto Public Health Unit. These organizations collaborate to provide a number of highly-skilled professionals, attract other agency partners, and provide supports to the many community-based volunteers and staff. This site received the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation in 1995, and innovation has truly become a way of life. Growing Together St. James Town continues to reach high standards of service delivery for about 500 families each year. Two of Growing Together St. James Town's newest programs are "Stepping Stones," a special service to enhance social and emotional development in young children, and computer courses for parents to prepare for entry into the Canadian job market.

(2003 Program Plan - Saint James Town)

Growing Together - Plamondon District, Côte-des-Neiges (Montréal, QC)

The Grandir Ensemble Plamondon District site holds a dozen regular programs and activities for about 200 parents and their children, ranging from play groups and story-telling activities that are open to all, to counseling or speech therapy for children and families with special needs. Similar to Growing Together – Saint James Town, this site operates in an area with a large population of recent immigrants and is dedicated to assisting them and their young children in their transition to their new community. This is achieved by establishing many networking opportunities throughout the neighbourhood, in collaboration with local partners such as the Office Municipal de l’Habitation, which provides space for a number of the programs. In addition, Grandir Ensemble keeps families informed of the resources and activities available to them and provides special programs to assist the preschoolers who are preparing to enter school. Moreover, Grandir Ensemble and the nearby Sainte-Justine Hospital have worked hard to establish a transdisciplinary team whereby child psychiatrists consult with Grandir Ensemble staff to create high quality early identification and intervention programs for children who need them.

(2003 Program Plan - Plamondon District, Côte-des-Neiges, available in French only)

Growing Together - Dartmouth North (Dartmouth, NS)

In the Dartmouth North neighbourhood, family home visitors greet each new baby with a celebratory visit, inviting the family to participate in the 25 social events, activities and programs offered through this Growing Together project. These activities take place throughout the day and on many evenings. One particularly innovative program is "Baby Talk," for new parents and their infants, covering such topics as infant attachment and communication, and positive parenting. There are also regular social and community development activities for parents, such as Leadership Training, where community residents are mentored into leadership positions at the Dartmouth Family Resource Centre, and come to play a significant roles in planning and implementing Growing Together activities and programs. The Growing Together - Dartmouth North site benefits from the unique partnership provided by the Government of Nova Scotia. The key partners providing resources and supports to this site include the Department of Community Services of Nova Scotia, the Department of Health of Nova Scotia, and the IWK Health Centre.

(2003 Program Plan - Dartmouth North)

Growing Together - Northside/Victoria County (Cape Breton, NS)

As the only Growing Together site in a rural setting, Growing Together - Northside/Victoria County Cape Breton has met some unique challenges. Many residents live long distances away from each other and from urban centers. However, this hasn’t stopped the Growing Together team from offering over a dozen activities and programs throughout the county, as well as a number of special community events. These include “Read to Me," a program for parents about the joys and benefits of reading to their young children, as well as a popular Play Group in the town of Baddeck, where parents reportedly have as much fun as the children. While the adults share their experiences and ideas on parenting, their children learn how to play with each other and how to exercise their imaginations. In addition, a dedicated and enthusiastic team of home-visitors work out of three locations across the county, reaching out to as many families as possible. Growing Together - Cape Breton works with approximately 200 families. It receives substantial support from informal partners – such as nursing home residents contributing hand-knit children’s mittens and puppets – as well as their official partners: the Department of Community Services of Nova Scotia, the Department of Health of Nova Scotia, and the IWK Health Centre.

(2003 Program Plan - Northside/Victoria County)

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