First Place Kids Early Childhood Program

Categories: Email Newsletter, Homeless Aid, First Place Family Center, Staff Stories, Volunteers
Date: Tuesday, December 15 2015

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.

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, Director of Youth and Family Services at St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County.
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