Encompass of Green Bay’s Child And Classroom Advocate Program received a $57,000 grant from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation.
By Debbie Ashmann, director of fund development, Encompass
Imagine living with trauma every day. This is a way of life for 40 percent of Encompass families. They have difficulties finding and keeping a job. Food and shelter and basic needs do not come easy to them. They struggle daily as they navigate through family life which may include violence, verbal abuse, and criticism. The pandemic exasperated struggles in family living.
Now imagine you are a young child in one of these families. Mom and Dad fight all the time. Perhaps there are multiple dads. You go to bed hungry and cry a lot. It’s so hard to control your feelings, you don’t know how to tell others you are hurting. At school you “act out with aggressive behaviors,” even though that is not who you really want to be.
Encompass is seeing more and more “aggressive behaviors” in the classroom. As trusted leaders in early education and care for more than 100 years, Encompass has created the Child and Classroom Advocate program.
This program addresses problems such as swearing, biting, kicking, etc. with the child advocate in the classroom every day helping children to learn coping mechanisms, to listen, and to encourage the child to do their very best.
Here’s a story about a child who has been helped through our advocacy program at Encompass as told by his grandmother:
“My grandson entered the program last year and was in very poor condition for his age (health, social and emotional issues). He had been taken away from his parents and placed in my home. It was Encompass who was there for our family when we realized that we were not going to be able to care for him alone. We needed to work our jobs, especially with one more child in our home.
His 4K teacher and other teachers were amazing with him! My grandson learned something new every single day! Whether it was a new rule, a new song, an art project, a field trip or helping show him what a daily routine is all about, those teachers were there and helped with all of it!!
My grandson is a different boy than the boy that came to me a year ago. Between the things that were being taught in our home, outside our home and the help from the child care center, we have given my grandson a whole new platform to stand on as he enters kindergarten this year.”
The Encompass Child and Classroom Advocate program would not be possible without the generous funding from the David L and Rita E Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation. We are thankful that they believe today’s child will become tomorrow’s community citizen.
Who were the Nelsons? David and Rita Nelson left an estate gift of more than $100 million to their charitable fund at the Community Foundation. The priorities they specified for the money include parks and recreation with a focus on early childhood and education. Rita was a teacher and passionate about helping educate the area’s youth. Learn more about the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund and find out more about this couple here.