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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Media's Impact on Children Discussed at County Council Gathering



A group of concerned parents, educators and social service representatives came together for a discussion of the impact of media on children at a recent gathering at Project Self-Sufficiency.  The meeting was facilitated by Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children.  Attendees also received an update on the progress of the new council which was launched last year by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families in order to address the needs of local families who are expecting or parenting young children. 

Keynote speaker Gwen Federico-Malone, MSW, Associate Director of Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI), offered an informative presentation, “The Role Media Plays in How Children Perceive the World and Themselves.  Participants learned about the potentially harmful messages children receive from the media on a regular basis, and discussed ways for parents to mitigate the impact of the media onslaught.  “Children have always learned how to behave in the world from the stories of their time, and the mass media are today's story-tellers,” explained Federico-Malone.  “If the stories our children see routinely involve violence as a solution to problems, or simply as a random omnipresence, what kind of personal value system and cultural worldview are we passing on to our children?”

County Councils for Young Children have been established in all of the state’s 21 counties to bring together parents and caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services.  The meetings of the General Council are designed to gather information from area residents about their concerns and to disseminate updates on the progress of the council.  Project Sussex Kids Coordinator Haley McCracken provided an overview of council activities and plans for upcoming events. 

In addition to joining the General Council, the agency continues to seek volunteers to join workgroups to identify community needs.  Groups meet locally to seek input about health and wellness, safety, community events and other topics.  The groups are divided according to the age or needs of the children in the family, including prenatal, special needs, families of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, families of school-aged children, and Spanish-speaking families.  To facilitate participation, meetings are held regionally in Newton, Sussex, Vernon, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg and Montague. 

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability. Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,500 families, including over 30,000 children. 

To attend an upcoming General Council Meeting or to volunteer to participate in one of the Project Sussex Kids workgroups, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500.  Additional information is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pregnant Women and Parents of Young Children Can Find Help at Project Self-Sufficiency



Parents of infants and toddlers, or those who are pregnant with their first child, are invited to receive advice and support from a certified nurse or professional home visitor through Project Self-Sufficiency.  The agency offers a range of home visitation programs to income-eligible families in Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties.  The programs are free, voluntary and confidential.  Those who register prior to June 30th and complete their first home visit can receive a $50 Shop Rite gift card.


Participants in the agency’s home visitation programs receive free parenting tips, baby items, information about childhood health, and other topics from certified nurses or professional home visitors.  The programs combine home visits with educational outings for mother and child to help parents boost literacy levels, address health issues, and help prevent potential developmental delays.  Women who are pregnant or parenting infants, as well as those with children up to the age of three are eligible. 

Mothers also have the opportunity to meet regularly with other women in similar circumstances by attending monthly gatherings held at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Participants receive the latest information about household safety, parenting, health and wellness, and other topics, while enjoying lunch and engaging in craft projects with their children.  While on site, mothers can also take advantage of the other programs and services available to families at the agency.  Transportation to the monthly meetings is available to women in need. 

Project Self-Sufficiency’s home visitation services are available to income-eligible residents of Sussex, Hunterdon and northern Warren Counties.  To find out more about the home visitation programs offered at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Public Invited to Discuss Media's Impact on Children at Project Sussex Kids General Council Meeting



Sussex County residents are invited to attend one of two meetings of the innovative Project Sussex Kids, the County Council for Young Children designed by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families to address the needs of local families who are expecting or who are parenting young children.  The meetings of the Project Sussex Kids General Council will be held at Project Self-Sufficiency on Tuesday, May 17th, at 9:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m., in order to maximize opportunities for participation by the general public.  Keynote speaker Gwen Federico-Malone, MSW, Associate Director of Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI), will offer an informative presentation, “The Role Media Plays in How Children Perceive the World and Themselves,” to all participants.  Refreshments will be provided; childcare is available upon request.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.

Participating parents will learn about the potentially harmful messages children receive from the media on a regular basis, and discuss ways for parents to mitigate the impact of the media onslaught.  “Children have always learned how to behave in the world from the stories of their time, and the mass media are today's story-tellers,” explains Federico-Malone.  “If the stories our children see routinely involve violence as a solution to problems, or simply as a random omnipresence, what kind of personal value system and cultural worldview are we passing on to our children?”

County Councils for Young Children have been established in all of the state’s 21 counties to bring together parents, caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services.  The meetings of the General Council are designed to gather information from area residents about their concerns.  Several projects are in the works already, including the creation of a comprehensive resource guide.  Plans to work alongside childcare centers and preschools are being developed.

In addition to joining the General Council, the agency continues to seek volunteers to join workgroups to identify community needs.  Groups meet locally to seek input about health and wellness, safety, community events and other topics.  The groups are divided according to the age or needs of the children in the family, including prenatal, special needs, families of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, families of school-aged children, and Spanish-speaking families.  To facilitate participation, meetings are held regionally in Newton, Sussex, Vernon, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg and Montague. 

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability. Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,500 families, including over 30,000 children. 

The Project Sussex Kids General Council Meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  To attend the General Council Meeting or to volunteer to participate in one of the Project Sussex Kids workgroups, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500.  Additional information is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.