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July 2022
We often start our monthly newsletters by calling attention to what is happening in society around us and how this affects families and children. This month, our country is dealing with issues around women's health and a person's ability to make decisions around when and how they form their family. We are fortunate to do our work in a state where the current leadership understands, as we do, that when families are ready to have children they are more likely to raise healthy children in a healthy context and support a journey into healthy adulthood.  

Today, on Independence Day, we start our newsletter reiterating Illinois's work to safeguard reproductive rights. We hope that you will then read and enjoy our newsletter and see the many ways in which the Oak Park and River Forest communities support and celebrate the development of healthy families.    

Have a safe weekend and spend a little extra time with friends and family this holiday!
 
#WholeVillageWholeChild
HEALTH & DEVELOPMENT
Vaccines for children under 5 are here! 🎉

We are thrilled that the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 6 months to five years old. We encourage families to inform themselves about the vaccine for young children and to make an appointment for their children to be vaccinated with their pediatrician or at an upcoming clinic
Health Professionals: Help inform our work!

What type(s) of support or early childhood-focused information do you think the Collaboration for Early Childhood should provide to health professionals? If you are a health professional that works with young children, we would love to hear from you! Take a minute to share your thoughts with us.

EARLY LEARNING
New Investments and Opportunities for the Early Childhood Workforce

On July 1, a few expansions related to early childhood care and education were put into place including expanding access to Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and continuing grants designed to support child care programs. Learn more about these great initiatives here
Song Playlist to Promote Language Development

If you are looking for a fun way to promote language development in young children, these "Song Cards" are a great way to start. The Collaboration distributed a laminated version of these cards at our recent Community Screening Day and we also added a few songs to the playlist that you can find on our website here
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT
Play in the Park with Easterseals!

Join other parents with young children for a welcoming playgroup at Rehm Park from 10:30-12:00 on July 13 and 27. Meet new people. Make new friends. Enjoy the outdoors!

If you have any questions about these playgroups, please email Michelle at mhowell@eastersealschicago.org
Ways for Families to Make the Most of Their Summer

Summer is here in all its glory! We hope that you are able to find time to relax and do fun things with your chosen family during these warmer months but if you're looking for ways to connect and keep the learning happening throughout summer, we've collected some ideas for you
Interested in learning about our other parent resources and programming?
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Unplug and Connect with us at Scoville Park! 

We will be participating in the the Park District's Unplug Illinois event at Scoville Park from 9:00 - 12:00, so put down your phones, and come see us! The theme is health and the Park District will have a variety of health-related activity for families. Families First | La Familia Primero will be there, too. You can see the full schedule of events on the Park District's website. No registration is required! 

Thank you to our Volunteers! 

On Saturday, June 25, we teamed up with the Children's Clinic, the Village's Health Department and other community partners to hold an early childhood screening day for families with young children in the community. We are so grateful to all the volunteers who helped make this day a success including Collab Board Member Gina Lowell (pictured above) who enlisted her daughters to come and help out, too! 

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Howell and the Chicago Parent Program
Michelle Howell, pictured above with a friend at our recent Community Screening Day.

This month we highlight Michelle Howell, Program Manager of the Easterseals Partnering with Parents Home Visiting Program. In addition to her work managing Home Visiting, Michelle has been critical to helping the Collaboration to establish other support for families in the community, including the Chicago Parent Program.

The Chicago Parent Program is a 12-week workshops series that is offered multiple times a year to parents and caregivers of children ages 2-5. Over the course of the workshop sessions,
 parents learn to clarify what they truly value as a caregiver and identify the behaviors they want to reinforce in their children. The workshops help parents be the best parent they can be and, in the process, promote healthy development in their children. You can read more about Michelle's work with CPP in their recent newsletter article entitled, "Sharing is Caring to Make a Difference." 
July at a Glance:

July is Disability Pride Month

Throughout the month of July: 
Oak Park and River Forest Townships Youth Services School Supply Drive is accepting donations through August 5. 
Hint: To see more events for families and little ones in the community, check out our Parenting Resource Program calendar.  
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