First Place Kids Program

Categories: Email Newsletter, Homeless Aid, First Place Family Center, Staff Stories, Volunteers
Author:
Date: Thursday, June 10 2021

Located within SVdP’s First Place Family Center, First Place Kids is a unique program that addresses the multifaceted needs of children and families who are experiencing homelessness in Lane County. 

Homelessness impacts every family member. Homelessness impacts every member of the family, right down to a young child’s ability to play. For families without homes, there are no bedrooms, toy boxes or fenced yards. Instead, there’s weather, traffic, feral animals and strangers, and parents stressed by that and so much more. As a result, a carefree childhood is lost.  As they grow older, children living in extreme poverty and homelessness encounter a myriad of factors, including food insecurity, sleep deprivation, trauma, lack of health care and chaos that directly impacts their level of academic engagement and often continues the cycle of poverty.
Integrated services, accessible approach.

First Place Kids provides integrated services to a vulnerable population unlike any other program in our community.  We emphasize a wrap-around model where children receive the care they need and where parents are encouraged to build protective factors that mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. 

First Place Kids serves families who face many barriers to accessing other children and family services in our community. Our highly accessible approach includes: bringing support services onsite at our day access center, serving a large age range of children, no attendance requirements for our programming, and offering all of our services completely free of charge. 

Four-part, one-of-a-kind model of support.

First Place Kids offers four distinct areas of service, which work together to provide a one of a kind model of support to families in need:  

  • Therapeutic Childcare: a low-barrier, trauma-informed childcare program that works to meet the immediate needs of children and families who are actively unhoused.  
  • Family resource coordination, advocacy, and referrals.    
  • Family enrichment and bonding activities.     
  • Collaboration with partner agencies and community engagement.   
Uniquely positioned to respond to evolving needs. First Place Kids is uniquely positioned to respond to the evolving needs of families navigating homelessness within our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2019, First Place Kids has provided critical academic support to students engaging with remote learning while homeless. In order to reduce barriers to remote learning participation, the First Place Kids has provided distance learning tools and tutoring services, as well as coordinated with local school districts to facilitate academic success for children experiencing homelessness.

First Place Kids is consistently seeking support from volunteers and interns in order to provide a high level of care for children in our program.  We provide many opportunities for community members to directly impact children and families experiencing homelessness.  Please get in touch with us at (541) 650-4218 for more information on how to get involved!

Learn more about First Place Kids in this article by Illana Jakubowski.
Click for the First Place Programs Wish List
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Located within SVdP’s First Place Family Center, First Place Kids is a unique program that addresses the multifaceted needs of children and families who are experiencing homelessness in Lane County.  

Homelessness impacts every member of the family, right down to a young child’s ability to play. For families without homes, there are no bedrooms, toy boxes or fenced yards. Instead, there’s weather, traffic, feral animals and strangers, and parents stressed by that and so much more. As a result, a carefree childhood is lost.  As they grow older, children living in extreme poverty and homelessness encounter a myriad of factors, including food insecurity, sleep deprivation, trauma, lack of health care and chaos that directly impacts their level of academic engagement and often continues the cycle of poverty.

First Place Kids provides integrated services to a vulnerable population unlike any other program in our community.  We emphasize a wrap-around model where children receive the care they need and where parents are encouraged to build protective factors that mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. 

First Place Kids serves families who face many barriers to accessing other children and family services in our community. Our highly accessible approach includes: bringing support services onsite at our day access center, serving a large age range of children, no attendance requirements for our programming, and offering all of our services completely free of charge. 

First Place Kids offers four distinct areas of service, which work together to provide a one of a kind model of support to families in need:  

  • Therapeutic Childcare: a low-barrier, trauma-informed childcare program that works to meet the immediate needs of children and families who are actively unhoused.  
  • Family resource coordination, advocacy, and referrals.    
  • Family enrichment and bonding activities.     
  • Collaboration with partner agencies and community engagement.   

First Place Kids is uniquely positioned to respond to the evolving needs of families navigating homelessness within our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2019, First Place Kids has provided critical academic support to students engaging with remote learning while homeless. In order to reduce barriers to remote learning participation, the First Place Kids has provided distance learning tools and tutoring services, as well as coordinated with local school districts to facilitate academic success for children experiencing homelessness.

First Place Kids is consistently seeking support from volunteers and interns in order to provide a high level of care for children in our program.  We provide many opportunities for community members to directly impact children and families experiencing homelessness.  Please get in touch with us at (541) 650-4218 for more information on how to get involved!


Become a Defender Of Play!

Our Staff:

Ilana Jakubowski: FPK Program Director

Matt Trimble: Pre-K Lead Teacher

Marianne Kaczmarek: Infant & Toddler Lead Teacher


brother, sister in back of SUV
For children living without stable housing, the family car serves as bedroom and toy box.
Personal attention, a snack, and a book. As they do the work necessary to overcome barriers to housing, parents know their youngest are being nurtured.

***COVID-19 UPDATE***

“The First Place Family Center, located at 1995 Amazon Parkway, will be adapting its services in order to better ensure the safety of its staff and our families. The following changes will take effect Friday, March 27th: 

  • All families currently being sheltered overnight through the Night Shelter program will remain sheltered throughout the night and day at the Annex shelter facility. 
  • The First Place Family Center (FPFC), located at 1995 Amazon Parkway, will still remain open for literally homeless or extremely vulnerable families 7 days a week. Hours have been reduced to 10am – 3pm. 
    • Services at the FPFC will be restricted to picking up critical supplies such as food, diapers, toiletries and other hygiene products. 
    • Entrance into the FPFC facility will be limited to one family at a time for use of bathrooms, laundry, and showers only. 
    • FPFC will still be accepting and processing applications for the Homeless Prevention and Barrier Busters programs by appointment only Saturday thru Wednesdays 10am – 3pm. Interested families should still contact Kevin Douglas at kevin.douglas@svdp.us or 541-357-1734. 
    • Families who have questions about services at FPFC should still call 541-342-7728. 
    • General donations to the SVdP are not being collected at FPFC at this time. The only donations being accepted at this time are masks, hand sanitizer, and temporal thermometers. 
    • ***

Homelessness impacts every member of the family, right down to a child’s ability to play. For families without homes there are no bedrooms, toy boxes or fenced yards. Instead there’s weather, traffic, feral animals and strangers, and parents stressed by that and so much more. As a result carefree childhood play – and the learning and socialization that results from it – is at least partially lost. Kids come to First Place Family Center under considerable stress and experiencing the aftermath of one or more traumatic events. In fact, childhood specialists classify homelessness as a traumatic event in itself.

First Place Family Center promotes play in its upbeat, family friendly facility at 1995 Amazon Pkwy in Eugene. Colorful, age appropriate toys are within reach indoors, and the fenced playground beckons outside. In addition, a program entitled First Place Kids Early Childhood Program serves children and families experiencing homelessness in three distinct ways:

• Operating a trauma informed preschool program Monday through Friday;

• Providing developmental and social/emotional screenings and referrals;

• Linking families to essential community resources such as Head Start, health care, and family counseling.

It all starts with play and precious financial support. Be a Defender of Play by supporting First Place Kids Early Childhood Program. Donate the old fashioned way by check and put "First Place Kids ECP" in the memo line. Mail it to St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 24608, Eugene, OR 97402. OR, use our online donation form. There are a number of program options. Be sure you find and check "First Place Kids Early Childhood Program."

Learn more about First Place Kids Early Childhood Program in this article by Eileen Chanti.
Click for the First Place Programs Wish List
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