Two thousand and seventeen thank yous to former Juneau Police Department Lt. Kris Sell and her 2017 Year of Kindness Committee members. Their vision and efforts really activated our community to be more thoughtful and compassionate. Kindness really does make a difference.
R.O.C.K. Juneau (Raising Our Children with Kindness) is continuing the kindness celebration by hosting a Year of Kindness for Kids during 2018.
R.O.C.K. Juneau is a new collaboration in town committed to improving access to resources for a healthy childhood and adolescence.
Kindness is more than “being nice.” Kindness for Kids is about building strong families and young people with skills and supports for a healthy life — which in turn builds a stronger and more stable Juneau. We believe in a community where every young person feels loved, equipped and empowered.
R.O.C.K. Juneau’s work encompasses cultural healing, safety, ensuring families have strong social supports, access to a full spectrum of mental and physical health services, and uniting our community in reducing adverse childhood experiences.
Each month in 2018, we will be highlighting the inspiring and successful programs, events and efforts of a particular sector of young people. In addition we’ll be sharing specific needs or gaps of that group.
We’re inviting everyone in Juneau to continue wonderful acts of kindness, with particular emphasis for our young people.
In January, R.O.C.K. Juneau focused on infants and newborns. We visited with REACH Infant Learning Program about their program for families with kids ages zero to three that have existing or potential developmental delays. The program is connected to the Juneau community and participates in and encourages events specifically for that age group, such as the annual Baby Fair, Baby Toddler Time at Bartlett Regional Hospital and Library Story Time. The program has strong connections with local families and pediatricians and offers free developmental screenings on its website, www.reachilp.org.
R.O.C.K. Juneau also connected with the Parents as Teachers program, which is a home-visiting program for families with young children. Once or twice a month, the parent educators visit families in their homes to provide positive parenting support, increase parent knowledge of their child’s development and improve parenting practices. In addition to home visits, they also coordinate monthly Group Connections, in which families meet and connect with each other. Parents exiting the program have said it helped them better understand child development, increased their ability to deal with stresses of parenting and life in general, and increased their ability to meet their child’s social and emotional needs.
In January, the Southeast Alaska United Way AmeriCorps Program supported newborns in need. They collected diapers and baby formula to donate to local organizations with children in need including St. Vincent de Paul’s and Love INC. But the need doesn’t end when the drive is over.
Our efforts in February move to toddlers. Toddler Time at our libraries and Dads n’ Kiddos play group are just two of many wonderful opportunities young families have for connection and support. In addition, we have a city wide desperate need for expanding high quality daycare to support working families. Together, we can find solutions.
If you’d like to participate and spread kindness to the infants and toddlers in our community, try some of these ideas: Offer to bring a meal to a family with a new baby, or ask if you can run load of laundry, or run a few errands. If you don’t know any families with new babies, donate diapers, books or learning toys to a local agency. Be a kindness ambassador.
Check out our 100 + 18 ways to be kind to kids on our website, ROCKJuneau.org. Follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram (ROCKJuneau) … and most of all, share your acts of kindness with #ROCKJuneau.
• Tayler Shae is the Early Literacy Outreach Coordinator with AEYC. Becky Roth is the coordinator for R.O.C.K. Juneau. They can both be contacted at ROCKJuneau@gmail.com.