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.
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.
Kidspace Featured on NBC4
House of Ruth’s executive director Sandra Jackson spoke to NBC4 reporters about the work we do at our Kidspace Child and Family Development Center, and how House of Ruth is preparing to expand and break ground on a new daycare facility, which will double the number of infant and toddler spots offered at Kidspace.
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!
Building A Space For Children
For more than 21 years, House of Ruth’s Kidspace program, an accredited therapeutic child development center, has served homeless children on what was once a charming, community-based corner lot in Ward 7. Over the years, the dedicated staff has creatively adapted the two residential buildings and surrounding grounds to serve as an education and therapy center for the more than 70 homeless children they care for each day.
Despite House of Ruth’s best efforts, band-aid renovations can no longer overcome the reality of an aging historic property. Undoubtedly, the children Kidspace serves deserve better.
In January of 2016, agency leadership made the difficult decision to relocate Kidspace to a temporary location with a laser focus on returning the program to its Ward 7 home after completion of major improvements. Without critical renovations and upgrades, Kidspace, much like the children we serve, is homeless.
Read our case to rebuild Kidspace by clicking the pdf brochure below.
Program Highlight: Kidspace
“Kids here have experienced all kinds of things – life challenges associated with homelessness, domestic violence, and it affects them, even if it was in utero,” says Crystal Graham, Co-Director at Kidspace. “Almost all have developmental delays because of that trauma, and we help them here.”
Every day at Kidspace, donors like you allow House of Ruth to provide free, high-quality, nurturing, and responsive services to formerly homeless, developmentally delayed children ages six weeks to five years old. In bright, engaging classrooms with a small teacher-to-student ratio, kids receive top-notch specialized developmental day care and tailored therapies, while their parents receive services to help them address the challenges in their lives.
Nearly every child coming to Kidspace has some developmental delay, and many across domains. Kidspace’s educators and therapists are advocates for each child, assessing needs and proactively providing speech and occupational therapy. Kidspace offers children a learning environment they may not otherwise have access to and the therapies they need to prevent more debilitating delays later in life. Even more importantly, Kidspace prepares children to be ready to learn and succeed in school and life.
For more than 25 years, Kidspace operated on a small campus of two older homes. At first, that worked well and gave children a place of their own. Because of the deterioration of the two older homes, Kidspace is now located in temporary buildings. With support from our community of donors, we look forward to improving the physical space to match the quality of services we provide there. Please stay tuned for more news – and thank you for helping these children recover from trauma, develop and thrive.
Former Kidspace campus
Current temporary Kidspace building
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