SARASOTA, FL – On June 16, families involved with Safe Children Coalition’s HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program celebrated their children’s graduation from the program. In the 2023-2024 school year, 45 recent HIPPY alumni will be headed to kindergarten, with their school readiness and future opportunities bolstered thanks to the award-winning early education program.
The graduation was emceed by longtime SCC Educational Outreach Director/HIPPY program manager Jone Williams. Barbara Aferiat, the Chair of HIPPY programs for NCJW Sarasota-Manatee – the organization that helped to found the local HIPPY program several decades ago – greeted the assembled. After the processional, Jacqueline House, SCC’s vice president of communications and community engagement, shared a glowing testimonial offered by HIPPY parent Claudine Anderson on behalf of her daughter, HIPPY alumnus LaShawnda Anderson, who asserts that the program enabled her to surpass her peers, excel in gifted, honors, AP and dual enrollment courses, and now thrive in an education career.
In attendance were longtime HIPPY supporters Susan Wood and Tom Faessler from the Wilson Wood Foundation.
HIPPY is a home-based, family-focused program that helps parents provide educational enrichment for their preschool-aged child(ren). The program supports parents who may not feel sufficiently confident to prepare their children for school and is designed to remove barriers to participation in education. HIPPY’s primary goal is to ensure children are kindergarten-ready, offering the greatest possibility that they will succeed in school and, ultimately, in life.
Since 1992, HIPPY Sarasota has served a targeted population of families with the greatest economic, social, and educational challenges. Since preschool may not be an option for every child, this program works to prepare youngsters ages 2-5 for a successful path to education. HIPPY is offered free of charge to meet the needs of the most disadvantaged and at-risk youth and families in our community. This past school year, 125 children and parents were served through the HIPPY program.
HIPPY has served families throughout the U.S. since 1984; the program was launched in Sarasota in 1992. This developmental opportunity provides an evidence-based curriculum to intervene and promote early childhood education. This program primarily operates through family referrals to provide adequate resources and instruction for parents.
Data from recent studies proves that children included in recent HIPPY cohorts are more likely to get promoted to the next grade and achieve at satisfactory levels on Florida Standards Assessment reading and math tests than peers who did not benefit from such a program. Removing barriers and providing support for deserving families align with Safe Children Coalition’s mission of protecting children, strengthening families, and building community.
“The HIPPY program has been instrumental in helping new generations in our community to achieve success in school and life,” said SCC President and CEO Brena Slater. “We have seen multiple generations of families come through the program over the decades; the annual HIPPY graduation is one of our most-anticipated – and certainly adorable – events of the year!”
For more about SCC’s HIPPY program, visit sccfl.org/hippy.
About Safe Children Coalition
Safe Children Coalition, Inc. (SCC) serves as the lead agency for community-based care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. SCC is a collaboration between local community agencies who provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to protecting children, strengthening families, and building community. The core functions provided by SCC include child welfare case management, foster care, adoption, independent living, prevention, diversion, quality management, and support services. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.