Dalton-Whitfield Archway Partnership Updates

Welcome to the Dalton-Whitfield Archway Partnership Blog. Check this blog regularly to learn about the priorities, goals, and actions of the Archway Partnership.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturday Academy Wraps Up

The Archway Partnership Saturday Academy pilot program finished with its final Saturday on April 12. An article highlighting the program was published in the local Daily Citizen newspaper and can be read here. Thank you to all of the families, volunteers, and organizations who made this possible - we couldn't have done it without you! To put their importance into perspective, here are some numbers:

30 families with 68 children participated; 
54 volunteers devoted a total of 357 hours of their time; and
15 collaborative agencies provided services, food, time, and energy!

Byron Castillo-Sanchez, 4, takes a test with Archway Education Professional Katy Green at the Mack Gaston Community Center. (Matt Hamilton/The Daily Citizen)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Young Professional Park Restoration Project: An Update

Our last update on the Dalton Whitfield Archway Partnership's involvement with the Young Professionals of Northwest Georgia (YPONG) discussed their intent to restore Varnell Park on February 22. 

They have since followed through with the project. You can read about their success, and see before and after photos here

Week of the Young Child

It's officially the Week of the Young Child! Learn what it is here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dalton-Whitfield Community "Springs" into Reading

An Archway-initiated book drive titled “Spring into Reading” recently concluded with more than 1,100 books donated! Recipient organizations/programs of the books include: local pre-k institutions, Sharing is Caring, and Book Nooks. More than 415 books from the drive were distributed during pre-k registration at the end of March. The ultimate goal of the book drive is to foster at-home reading for children with minimal exposure to books and family reading at home. Seven organizations hosted book bins for donations, and we salute the Dalton-Whitfield Community for a job well done! Pictured below are some snapshots from the book drive. 

Archway VISTA Melissa Morrison stands beside a book bin hosted by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.

Book Donation Bin

 Book donations included those from a local grocery store.

 These are just some of the books collected from the Dalton-Whitfield Regional Library.

A few of the 400+ books being prepared for pre-k registration in March.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Saturday Academy: Collaboration in Action

After many discussions with the local school districts, non-profit organizations, and local citizens, it was clear that building parent capacity for the families with young children should be a top priority of our local Archway education efforts. Teachers report that children are entering kindergarten without basic readiness skills. Further, the majority of preschool-aged children in the Dalton-Whitfield community do not attend early learning environments.  There are also concerns that school-aged children need additional tutoring, help with homework, and stimulating activities on the weekends. After brainstorming community solutions to support the young children and their families of the community, the idea of Saturday Academy was conceived.

Prior to kicking off a pilot program and study on March 8, Archway fostered a collaborative planning meeting. Sixteen individuals representing 12 community organizations gathered on February 24 to discuss a vision, objectives, and areas of support for the program! Funding followed suit, with private donors and organizations pledging $5,600 in support.

The pilot program began as planned on March 8, with over 45 children, 19 families, and 25 volunteers! To date, the Dalton-Whitfield Archway Partnership has hosted and facilitated the third of six consecutive, fun-filled Saturdays for 3-5 year olds and their families at the local Community Center.  To enhance school readiness for young children and their families, community partners work together to host parent education classes, parent-child interactive classes, and family fun time.  Researchers from the University of Georgia, Georgia State, and West Georgia were on site the first week and assisted by faculty from our two local systems, as well as Dalton State College in assessing children's school readiness skills.  At the conclusion of the pilot study, the researchers will analyze parent and child data to determine if the programming was effective building parent capacity, improving home learning environments, and improving preschoolers’ school readiness skills. Pictures of the event can be seen on our Facebook page here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Reach Out and Read Update

On February 24, 2014, local leaders joined the Archway Partnership staff for an information session and tour of White’s Pediatrics, one of the two local pediatric practices that have been funded for Reach Out and Read. Archway executive committee member and superintendent of Dalton Public Schools, Dr. Jim Hawkins, attended the tour and noted that the program is “high leverage” and is “giving the highest return on investment.” To date, the program has received $5,000 in funding, and more than 10,000 people have been reached. Pictured below are some of the tour participants discussing Reach Out and Read at White's Pediatrics. To read about previous Reach Out and Read endeavors, click here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Archway Partnership Presents at Local Pastor’s Meeting

On February 3, Archway Partnership professionals Melissa Lu and Katy Green were invited to speak to a group of local pastors representing 13 churches about ways the faith-based community can become involved with areas of need within the Dalton-Whitfield community. The opportunities they shared extend to anyone wanting to make an impact in the community. Click here to see the list of opportunities shared with the pastors. A photo highlighting the event is below.

Archway Professional Melissa Lu talks with pastors about areas of need after her presentation.