House of Ruth

Kidspace Virtual Grand Opening

Kidspace Virtual Grand Opening

We are so excited to share with you House of Ruth’s brand new building for Kidspace, our child development center in Ward 7.

When House of Ruth opened our doors 44 years ago, we began the work of supporting women and later women and their children. We expanded to include children because we quickly understood that children have also been impacted by the traumas associated with homelessness, and domestic violence, and they require their own space. On the 30th anniversary of opening Kidspace, today, we open a brand new facility that offers children who have lived through traumas a place to heal, and to thrive.

Kidspace’s staff support children 6 weeks to 5 years old on their journey to overcome challenges resulting from trauma, abuse and homelessness heal; reach their developmental milestones; and prepare for school readiness and life success. The new building more than doubles our capacity — from 44 children currently being served to 88 children.

The Kidspace staff embrace a trauma-informed practice, with occupational and speech therapy offered in a warm, inviting, and safe environment. We give parents the comfort of knowing that their children are safe, welcomed, cared for, and celebrated — so the parents can focus on their individual daily goals.

The Kidspace program is stellar, but the prior building did not allow for the adequate space and needs of the children, families, and staff. We set out to correct that and bring forth an environment that is equal to the programming, and that is bright, fun, inviting and provides adequate space for the children, families, staff, and community.

We are grateful to the Board of Directors, staff, donors, foundations, grantors, partners, local leaders, families, and the community who supported this effort.

We had planned a grand opening with celebrities, local leaders, our committed and dedicated donors, funders, foundations, our children/families, staff, community and partner agencies to celebrate the opening of this site — that has transformed into reality from a two-dimensional vision on paper — rising up from the ground and standing tall today. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to celebrate face-to-face, so please join me in a virtual grand opening, with voices from our leaders, and pictures of our children, families, and staff.

We hope you enjoy this ‘grand opening’ and are as excited as we are about the possibilities of our children entering this safe, welcoming, colorful, bright, and fun space. The new Kidspace offers every student access, opportunity, and support — the building blocks of success — that they need to accomplish the great purpose in each of their lives.

Sheila’s Story

Sheila* is a strong, loving mom and a fierce advocate for her young sons. She has persevered through trauma while continuing to grow as a person and a parent. When her oldest son started at Kidspace as a very young infant, they were living in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for mothers and children who are survivors of domestic violence. At first Sheila was reluctant to put her 4 month-old son in daycare. She held a very strong bond and attachment with her baby, and she had difficulty trusting Kidspace staff. The distrust came from witnessing negative situations when she was working at a daycare in the past.

There have been moments where Kidspace staff has had the opportunity to connect with Sheila and honor her parenting in ways she had not experienced before. Other people in her life told Sheila she was holding her baby too much and that she was spoiling him. Our staff was able to affirm that she was absolutely doing the best thing possible for her baby.

Today Sheila’s first child is three years old, and she has another infant son. Over the past three years, we have seen Sheila’s children thrive as she has developed strong relationships with Kidspace teachers and staff. Sheila has regularly taken advantage of parent and child development trainings offered by our partner agencies. She has always been an excellent advocate for her children — ready to speak her mind and provide feedback to teachers. With staff support, Sheila has grown in her ability to appreciate different points-of-views and in her desire to work together with her children’s teachers to meet their needs.

Sheila has taken her advocacy skills to the next level — serving as the president of Kidspace’s parent committee and being a voice for other parents at local childcare policy council meetings. Sheila has volunteered her time in the midst of working and raising her children. The onset of the pandemic affected her 9 to 5 pm employment, and she recently made the choice to purchase an ice cream truck! The decision has proven to be wise, as she has been working socially distanced parties and finding success during these unusual times.

We are honored to support Sheila on her parenting journey, and to support the growth and development of her wonderful boys.

*Name has been changed.

Kidspace Nears Completion

 

As we get closer to the grand opening (sadly, postponed, but look for a video!) of our new Kidspace building, with 88 slots for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in D.C.’s Ward 7, we are so excited about how far we have come.

The architects who partnered with us submitted this video to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for a possible award, and we were so thrilled with the video we wanted to share it with you.

The voting has begun for the People’s Choice category of the AIA Film Challenge — please vote for House of Ruth’s Kidspace video here.

Thank you for all of your support!

 

Fresh Food Feeds Many … New Partnership

Last month, House of Ruth entered into an exciting new partnership with Community Foodworks (CFW), which is a DC-based, mission-driven non-profit organization working to increase access to fresh and healthy food for underserved populations while creating opportunities for local farmers.

CFW is delivering local produce to House of Ruth’s Kidspace Center at a reduced rate. In addition to helping us provide the children we serve with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at a lower overall cost, the partnership will also allow Kidspace to participate in new initiatives with the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and benefit from higher reimbursement amounts for the healthy fresh produce we distribute to our children.

We are also thrilled that parents and staff will be able to have individual bags of produce delivered to our center weekly at a reduced cost. CFW further breaks down barriers to healthy fresh produce by accepting WIC and SNAP benefits as additional methods of payment.

Help in Raising Many Readers

Kidspace, House of Ruth’s therapeutic, developmental childcare center, is always in search of new, high-quality books with diverse children featured in them. Every day our books are put to hard use in the classroom (our infants and toddlers, like all infants and toddlers, often read them with the help of their mouths …) and many students want to bring them home.

So when Raising a Reader approached our executive director with their offer of high-quality, diverse books for Kidspace – we jumped at the chance.

Kicking off last month, the children get a bag of books to take home each week, and parents are encouraged to read with them. Raising a Reader focuses on parent-child bonding, early literacy and school success – all of which Kidspace encourages, as well.

The program’s books align with the Creative Curriculum, the top-quality curriculum in use at Kidspace, and the children are looking forward to the first delivery. Partnerships like these are how we leverage your donations into direct successes for the women and children we serve.

Two Rivers PCS Raises $1,600 for Kidspace Books

In early February, House of Ruth’s development director Elizabeth Kiker was invited to speak at the Two Rivers Public Charter School about House of Ruth’s Kidspace program. Over 100 kindergarten and first graders filled the auditorium, who had collectively raised more than $1,600 for books for children at Kidspace by selling hot cocoa and snack mix.

The kids specifically raised money for children who can’t afford books to have more books—and thanks to their hard work and generosity, Kidspace will now have wonderful new books for the children we serve. What an inspirational morning for all of us.

Stories of Hope: Kidspace

This video features Executive Director Ms. Sandra Jackson focusing on the Kidspace program, and is the fifth video in our Stories of Hope video series.

Ms. Jackson reiterates that the ultimate goal of House of Ruth is to help women who have suffered complex trauma, and outlines that this support can only be comprehensive if there is a space for their children who have survived traumas of their own. Kidspace is House of Ruth’s child development center, and Ms. Jackson shares that in the 25 years since the founding of the program in 1990, the program has been accredited, awarded, and certified for education and for trauma healing.

Ms. Jackson emphasizes the unchanged original mission of Kidspace is to encourage the children to heal emotionally and to find their voices, to help them to exceed developmental milestones, and to prepare them to embrace learning, growth, and success in their lives. Ms. Jackson emphasizes that Kidspace is a safe haven where healing is encouraged alongside structured learning. Finally, Ms. Jackson shares that the trust of these children is the highest honor of the Kidspace program, and that the program will continue to serve this population as long as the need is present.

Stories of Hope: Janeen

Janeen’s Story of Hope is the fourth in a series of videos to be released over the next few months.

Janeen shares that as a child she attended Kidspace, the daycare program at House of Ruth, and describes the program as feeling like family. Janeen is the daughter of Kalise, another featured Story of Hope, and a House of Ruth board member. Janeen shares how House of Ruth supported Kalise as she recovered from domestic violence, and how this support had a positive impact on Janeen and her siblings because it allowed Kalise to be more present as a mother for her and her siblings.

In the video, she also explains that seeing her mother on the board is very inspiring to her, since House of Ruth has done so much for all of their lives. She also shares that today her mom lives as an example to her and her siblings, thanks to House of Ruth.

Janeen is now a recent high school graduate and will be attending university in the fall to begin a nursing program. She is looking forward to her clinical hours where she can decide what to specialize in, and thanks House of Ruth for making this possible.

A Successful Do More 24 Campaign

House of Ruth’s first year participating in the Do More 24 campaign is officially over! Thanks to the generosity of our community of supporters and the efforts of our Board of Directors, House of Ruth successfully raised $19,020 over the course of the 24-hour campaign!

All funds raised through the Do More 24 campaign will go towards rebuilding Kidspace, our therapeutic child and family development center for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Thank you to everyone who participated in Do More 24 and for helping to make our first year so successful!

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