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Sierra Nevada Children’s Services marks 40 years of helping families

Submitted to The Union
Joy Horsfall of Ananda Living Wisdom Preschool (front) and Shambhavi Fitzpatrick (back) experiment with everyday and upcycled materials in the Loose Parts Provider Workshop.
Submitted photo by Lucia Stewart

This year Sierra Nevada Children’s Services is celebrating 40 years (founded in 1978) of service to families, caregivers, and childcare providers in Nevada and Sierra counties.

The group is a private, community-based nonprofit child care resource and referral agency whose mission is to enrich the community by supporting quality child care and empowering families to aspire to lifelong success, according to a release. Using state funding resources and local partnerships, the organization brings $3.8 million into the community each year.

Sierra Nevada Children’s Services administers several programs to support these communities. Through state and county contracts the group helps eligible families pay for childcare services. Last year, 793 children, from 519 families, received assistance with child care costs.

The organization assists parents with childcare referrals, including consultation, support and assistance in finding a childcare provider that will meet the families’ needs.

Playgroups at Sierra Nevada Children’s Services help parents, caregivers, and children learn new skills by participating in activities with a trained facilitator who guides caregivers on the value of interactive play with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. To meet the demand for more playgroups for infants and toddlers, the group added “Baby Steps” for children 9-18 months old.

The organization also added a second “Tots and Twos” playgroup for toddlers transitioning out of “Baby Steps” as there was an overflowing waiting list. “Three to Grow,” a playgroup for 3-year-olds who aren’t enrolled in a preschool program, was also added. Soroptomist International of the Sierra Foothills, Walmart Community Grant, Wells Fargo Foundation and Walton’s Grizzly Lodge Stein Family Foundation fund the playgroups.

The Children’s Community Chest program, which started in 1993, provides discretionary funds from private donations to meet the needs of children in Nevada County when no other community resources are available.

The funds support families who may face unexpected hardship and need one-time, temporary assistance. One local mother was able to advance her career because of assistance with educational costs she received. With the higher wages she now earns she can better support her children.

Sierra Nevada Children’s Services supports child care providers by offering professional development training workshops. Through the Child Care Initiative Project, Family Child Care Providers receive financial support with licensing and start-up expenses as well as incentives for attending trainings.

Through the California Preventive Health and Safety grant, Sierra Nevada Children’s Services offers health and safety related trainings and incentives for childcare providers in eight counties in northern California.

Family social events have been an inviting way for parents and caregivers to connect and learn about local resources. Sierra Nevada Children’s Services also offers annual community events, such as Family Appreciation Day and Appreciation Evening, to celebrate our community — childcare providers, partner agencies, donors and volunteers.

Source: Sierra Nevada Children’s Services

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