Via a two-generation approach, Felton’s Sunshine Community Center (SCC) promotes strong families and optimal development for their children by focusing on the Strengthening Families Framework. The primary function of the SCC supports The Five Protective Factors; parental resilience, increase social connections, increase knowledge of parenting and child development, provide concrete supports in times of need and to support social emotional competence in young children. This approach serves as a one-stop integrated service continuum, supporting families to address their needs largely under one roof, with a core group of staff with whom they can build trusting, supportive relationships.
The overarching goals are;
- Continue to include families as equal partners in their child’s development and ensure the culture, language and their unique assets are reflected in our ECE program
- Increase involvement of families in ECE decision-making at the program level
- Increase access to family support services which provide information about child development, parenting practices, mental health services, resource and referral/ case management, offer peer-to-peer support and increase access to public benefits.
Program Goal 1: Support parental resilience
We often think of resilience as innate, but the research shows that it is highly influenced by one’s environment. We have all heard about the concept of learned helplessness: when people get the message that they can’t succeed, or they are prevented from succeeding, it saps the will to even try to succeed. Helping families build resilience is the reverse of this concept, the SCC aims to create trust and confidence with families, which in turn will foster the resilience families need to be the parents their children need.
Felton supports families to better manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.
Program Goal 2: Increase social connections
Every parent needs a network of friends, colleagues, family, and professionals who provide a wide variety of supports and companionship along the way to being a great parent. Research shows again and again that it isn’t how many people an individual knows, but the quality of the relationships people have and the support they feel. Isolation and few or tenuous relationships can be indicators of risky situations. To support strong parenting, families need a network that provides a strong dose of the following;
- Multiple friendships and supportive relationships with others
- Feeling respected and appreciated
- Accepting help from others, and giving help to others
- Skills for establishing and maintaining connections
Felton’s approach to serving families is tightly aligned with Family Support Principles, including (but not limited to) our focus on the importance of respectful relationships, our ability to understand and reflect cultural beliefs, traditions, and language preferences; and our ability to respond and be flexible to the needs of our parents and their children. Our peer-to-peer framework is an essential part of how we build and support community connections among our families. The Parent Fellows will engage with our new families, using their lived experiences, as well as provide support to their peers, and serve as role models. Parent Fellows will also support to design, lead, co-construct, plan, and promote our upcoming program activities and workshops. This serves to build their capacity, and to best serve the needs of our families. An additional important engagement and retention strategy requires that all our programming is offered in Spanish and English, and during various times in the day, evening and weekend hours to best serve our target population.
Felton services foster community connections in several ways, including staff and parent fellows who reflect our clients (language, ethnicity/race; lived experience); provision of a continuum of care without silos, and by building and maintaining significant relationships with other local community-based organizations who serve our parents and families in ways we do not (allowing us considerable leverage of resources).
Felton provides families opportunities to build positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support by offering parent support groups, wellness activities such as Yoga, a gym and many field trips.
Program Goal 3: Increase knowledge of parenting and child development
Working with children’s earliest educators–their parents–in a familiar and culturally-sensitive environment, Felton’s SCC will help low-income, at-risk parents begin to perceive themselves as their children’s valuable and successful “first teachers,” aware of the long-lasting effects of early social interaction and environment on children’s overall social, emotional, and physical development.
Felton supports families to understand child development and parenting strategies that support their child’s physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development by offering curriculum-based parenting education workshops, art and cultural activities, and early literacy and kindergarten readiness workshops.
Program Goal 4: Provide concrete supports in times of needs
Low-income, particularly immigrant families have unique needs, striving to meet the educational and/or job demands as they are also addressing the challenges of parenting. Too often these families are also dealing with complex social and emotional challenges, such as histories of trauma, environmental stress, unsupportive educational settings, and insufficient positive social support. Through offering an integrated peer-to-peer service delivery model, and wraparound resources, Felton’s SCC will offer a comprehensive network of supports to address the challenges and needs of families. Every family has basic needs that help them provide the best environment for their children, including food, shelter and medical care. Sometimes families need more specialized services or fall into a crisis that prevents them from being able to provide the basics for their children. Not knowing where to turn in a crisis or how to find help can be extraordinarily stressful for families – and cause significant trauma for their children. The stress in turn can be a barrier to a parents’ ability to be persistent in the face of daunting circumstances. Stigma and shame about needing mental health services, substance abuse or domestic violence services often prevent families from seeking out the kind of help that may be necessary for the family to move forward.
Felton increases families’ access to concrete supports and services that address their unique needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges and barriers by offering case management, resource and referral information, basic needs assistance and access to a farmers market.
Program Goal 5: Supporting social-emotional competence in young children
Social and emotional competence is the foundation of every child’s development. It comes through the ongoing interactions between the child and the adults in her life, beginning with parents and other family members. The adult’s capability to foster the child’s ability to talk, regulate their behavior and interact positively with others is key to the child’s development. Nurturing and attachment in the earliest days and months of a baby’s life is the beginning point for social and emotional competence that develops over time. The social-emotional competence of young children serves as an important base as the child develops their own protective factors throughout life.
Felton provides opportunities for parent and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions and establish and maintain relationships by offering the following; developmental screenings, social and emotional support groups, and individual and family therapy.
Sunshine Community Center (SCC)
Located in Felton Institute’s Family Developmental Center (FDC)
Address: 2730 Bryant Street, 1st Floor, San Francisco, CA 94110
Main Office Phone: (415) 282-1090
Fax: (415) 282-1735
For more information, please contact:
Elodia Villasenor, MPH, Family Support Directorfamilysupport@felton.org
Yohana I. Quiróz, Ed.D., Chief Operations Officer,firstname.lastname@example.orgChildren, Youth, Family and Transitional Age Youth Division Email: