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The Pinon Project

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Early Childhood Programs

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Children birth to age 3
Female Young Adults (20 - 25 years)
Native American/American Indian
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Single Parents

Description

Incredible Years (IY) -The Incredible Years® is a series of interlocking, evidence-based programs for parents, children, and teachers, supported by over 30 years of research. The goal is to prevent and treat young children's behavior problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence. The programs are used worldwide in schools and mental health centers, and have been shown to work across cultures and socioeconomic groups.

Dinosaur School - The Classroom Dinosaur Curriculum is used by teachers as a prevention program for an entire classroom of students. The curriculum is delivered 2-3 times a week by teachers in the classroom in 20-30 minute circle time lessons, followed by small group practice activities and promotion of skills throughout the school day. The program includes letters for teachers to send home with suggested activities parents can do with their children to reinforce the classroom learning and promote parent involvement in classroom learning. The program includes lesson plans for 3 "levels" so that teachers can choose lessons based on children's developmental age (Level 1: ages 3-5, Level 2: ages 5-6, Level 3: ages 7-8).

Treasure Chest - The Scottish Rite Foundation of Colorado's main interest is in preventing and addressing communication and language disorders thereby enhancing the quality of life for Colorado's children and their families. The Treasure Chest Program is designed to help families improve the language and literacy skills of their young children thus better preparing them for school and social interaction.

The Treasure Chest Program is a family-focused language and literacy program designed to enrich the natural parent-child interaction. It seeks to accomplish this by providing parent education, support, and high quality, developmentally appropriate materials, books and activities to families of preschool-age children on a rotating basis. Outcomes include improved child learning readiness and enhanced parent confidence and satisfaction in selecting child activities.

Families who participate in the Treasure Chest Program benefit by developing better skills to foster their child's language and literacy development; children benefit by developing important school readiness skills (e.g., knowing the alphabet, counting, shapes, colors, etc.) Thus, children and their families benefit by being better-prepared for subsequent school and learning.

Parents As Teacher - Parents as Teachers builds strong communities, thriving families and children that are healthy, safe and ready to learn by matching parents and caregivers with trained professionals who make regular personal home visits during a child's earliest years in life, from prenatal through kindergarten.

Alphabet Soup - Alphabet Soup Family Support Group is a support group for parents, caretakers or guardian of children with special needs or challenging behaviors.

SafeCare® Colorado is a free, individualized program for families with children ages 5 and younger. A SafeCare Parent Support Provide works alongside parents and caregivers to build on their existing skills in the areas of home safety, child health and parent-child interactions. The program provides families with free items such as electrical outlet covers, cabinet locks and door latches as well as a health manual developed by pediatricians to assist parents in making important wellness decisions for their child. Families may also receive regular incentives like diapers or gift cards for program participation and completion.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Pinon Project Staff has helped a PAT participant succeed in getting into a home after being homeless for 2 months. The participant is working on continuing the PAT program to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for her child.

Our bilingual PAT staff member has also helped another new PAT participant that just moved her from another state and only speaks Spanish successfully get her connected and accepted for CCAP and get her children enrolled in Tree House Early Learning Center in order for the mother to go back to work.

I could tell one of my client Mom's was troubled the minute she answered the phone during our "remote" home visit. ".... I am so sorry, I was on the phone with my child's doctor when I noticed the children were quiet, too quiet". One of a mother's most accurate tells that their little ones may be up to no good. "When I hung up I went to their room and the kid's had "taken apart" one of the Treasure Chest books, when I asked them why they had ruined your book, they told me that they had liked the story so much that they were going to tape some of the pretty pictures up in their room." When they saw how upset Mom was, the children told her to not to worry, they would simply tape the book back together with clear tape and some very good intentions. I reassured Mom that while we do encourage families to make a good faith effort to teach little ones how to properly use and care for the books, we also understand children don't always learn these lessons on the first try. I shared with Mom this writer's personal philosophy that there are few things sadder than an unused, unread book. That I appreciated her effort to communicate to her children their responsibility in not tearing apart the books and for caring for the activities included in the Treasure Chests, but that I also hoped that this would not discourage her from checking out and making future use of the literacy learning kits. It appears that the benefit of a Treasure Chest, besides offering families a welcome distraction and important learning opportunities during our time of isolation, it also provided and important lesson in responsibility as well.

A single mom of two young children has been enrolled in the PAT program for over four years. Throughout the years one her children has been going through the process with BOCES to get the diagnoses of Autism, for this child has been nonverbal, lacked social and small/large motor skills. This has been a rough road for this mom because she had also struggled with substance abuse of her own. With the guidance of PAT this past year this mom has reached her one year of sobriety, gotten a job to support her and her children and bought a car. She has learned to be more involved with her children, spending quality one on one time with them, with the end result of her child with Autism speaking at least 50 words to express what they want, need and sometimes feel. Motor skills have improved to where the child can almost completely keep up with the sibling now.

A new client came into Pinon in need of some parenting support. One of the parents was required to attend a parenting group and they both decided to join our Incredible Years Parent group. Before the full program was delivered this couple had begun regularly attending another parenting group within Pinon Project as well as PAT and SafeCare. Through our numerous interactions it was widely known that these parents regularly used spanking as one of their preferred methods of discipline. Over the course of completing numerous parent groups and remaining engaged in PAT the family began to see that there are other, far less harmful means to discipline children and would try new strategies. The biggest switch was at this clients most recent visit when we were discussing developmentally appropriate behaviors for her 1 year old. Mom noted that he had recently started hitting and it felt counter intuitive to swat a child's hand while trying to get them to understand that they should not be hitting. She asked for options other than spanking her child! She doesn't want to damage the parent/child relationship by using punishment, instead she wants to teach her child how to properly behave using tools shown to her through Incredible Years, PAT and SafeCare. This kind of inclusive service, wrapping families in support often helps them in ways we do not get to see but this was a change that we could be present for and see the positive changes in the family.

Youth Services

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Hispanics
Native Americans/American Indians
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)

Description

Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is comprised of programs dedicated to providing support that will make a difference in the lives of young people by helping them develop a positive self-image, a sense of belonging within their community. YEP strives to engage youth through a variety of programs including before and after school program, asset building, the Strengthening Families Program and Restorative Justice.

Regional Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator works within the community to support organizations, systems and the community build capacity to prevent youth suicide. Capacity, procedures and process are key to ensuring our community knows exactly what to do when someone is thinking about suicide. Sources of Strength support and Question, Persuade Refer (QRP) Training are key pieces to youth suicide prevention. QPR is a suicide intervention program designed to support all people to intervene when someone is thinking about suicide and to ensure they get the help they need by the right people. If you or your organization are interested in a QPR Training call us today.

Early Release Days: Early Release Days are held on Wednesday After-School Program from 3:30-6:00PM with the Youth Empowerment Project. These days allow a full hour extra for our program activities and as a result we are able to host longer, more in depth, and often more exciting and engaged activities. The activities this year have included a tour of a local radio station, making pizza, bowling at the local bowling alley several times, a tour of the fire station, sports games, and movies. Early Release days allow more time for the youth to settle in to the new setting, more time for them to become interested in the activity, and more time for engaging with youth in meaningful ways.

Open Gym: Open gym is provided daily while school is in session from 7:45-9 AM. Breakfast snack and activities are facilitating by engaged adults. This service provides a safe space for youth to spend time before school starts.

After School Program: Provides activities daily for middle and high school students. These activities range from games, art, and mural development to Youth Advisory Council. There are many ways to enjoy the program. Pinon offers a safe space for youth to hang out while engaging in enrichment opportunities.

Summer Program: Provides daily activities to help support the development of youth in the community. Activities range from life skills, community service to just plain fun!
Strengthening Families - The Strengthening Families framework is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

We work to engage families, programs, and communities in building the five protective factors. States apply the Strengthening Families approach in early childhood, child welfare, child abuse prevention, and other child- and family-serving systems.

Check & Connect is an intervention used with K-12 students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and who are at risk of dropping out. At the core of Check & Connect is a trusting relationship between the student and a caring, trained mentor who both advocates for and challenge the student to keep education salient. Students are referred to Check & Connect when they show warning signs of disengaging from school, such as poor attendance, behavioral issues, and/or low grades.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

o One of our youth attendees who started out really quiet began to speak up more and more, and began speaking to other attendees as well. Previously, this youth had been withdrawn from adult facilitators and other youth, but demonstrated great growth in their independence and confidence.

o During on Early Release activity in which we traveled to the bowling alley, several youth attendees who had limited interactions with each other and had previously made little effort to get to know each other, banded together to provide each other with company and support. I perceived this to have been spurred by traveling outside Piñon walls; when the youth who frequently found themselves either at odds with one another or indifferent to each other traveled elsewhere as a group, they may have found that there was a comradery that was put into focus by the contrast to the new environment. This group later continued this support of one another in smaller groups at activities, but direct contact ended before schedules aligned to have all of them attend at the same time again.

o A youth attendant who had demonstrated serious trauma and difficulty coping throughout all after school activities gradually began to open up to me about specifics surrounding her life experiences, and trusted me to listen non judgmentally and thoughtfully.

o During one of the Early Release days, we were touring a fire station and one of the youth let me know that they were experiencing illness and faintness. After insisting that they didn't feel poorly enough to leave the tour and return to Piñon, I stuck to their side to keep an eye on them. Their friend, a notoriously defiant kid, also hung around to keep an eye on the sickly youth, and when we arrived at the section of the tour that involved sitting and watching a presentation, there weren't enough chairs sitting out already. The youth helping me keep an eye on the sick friend quietly (so as to not interrupt the presentation) ducked out to the hall, quickly spotted some extra folded chairs at the other end, and brought a few in for us. This was highly significant because the youth, so helpful in this instance, frequently displays a refusal to make accommodations for others, even their friends. Such quick thinking and quiet, efficient execution was an abnormal and positive thing to witness in this kid.

o One Early Release day, a youth who historically struggles in school, asked if they could sit out the activity in order to do some of their homework. Knowing this youth, they historically had never expressed an interest in completing their homework or improving their grades, and talked frequently about the difficulty of finding privacy and time for themselves in order to do any schoolwork. This interest in taking advantage of the relative calm that Early Release After-School activities provided was significant.

o Some youth were very shy and were insure of joining in on games with the "popular" youth but they would end up finding out that they were treated equally. I started to witness this equality flow outside of Open Gym, while waiting for youth at the end of the day, I saw two youth who had just recently started playing with the main group of basket ballers get approached and told to have a good weekend and that they look forward to playing with them the following week.

o During the duration of Open Gym I was told several times by youth that they now enjoyed coming to school because Open Gym help set their day in a good direction.

o During our fall session, we had an enrolled family who lost everything in a house fire. They were a large family of 7 and basic needs like shelter, bedding and clothing were hard to come by, let alone things like toys and entertainment for the kids. It was amazing to see the participants of the class come together to help their fellow classmates. Other participating families offered beds, clothing, help finding housing and even extra electronics like televisions and video game consoles for their teens. Even through the stressors the family was experiencing, they only missed one class the entire session!

o After mentioning that we would be discussing goal setting and behavior contracts the next week, one family asked the facilitator if they could stay for a while after class and have that process modeled for them, as mom felt they had a pressing issue that couldn't wait a week. The facilitator was able to mediate the discussion and walk the family through the process of having an effective meeting. The youth was in danger of becoming academically ineligible and losing her spot on the volleyball team. After some mediated conversation and coaching, it was decided by the youth that she was understanding the work and completing it, but forgetting to turn it in. The family problem solved a system for accountability and remembering to turn in assignments and the facilitator provided them with materials to implement the folder system. Within 2 weeks, the student was back to A's and B's and able to finish out her volleyball season. Mom stated the experience and its outcomes "a miracle" for their family dynamic.

o When we were nominating youth attendees to become Youth Advisory Council (YAC) officials, one youth who is consistently pretty quiet and withdrawn was nominated by multiple people to become the Vice Chair. When it came time for the voted officials to accept the title of office, he said yes! Usually this youth abdicates all responsibilities and at least during ASP, doesn't usually join in with other kids outside of his household, and this demonstrated a likely increase in self-esteem in this youth.

o During a YAC session, a youth expressed an interest in one of the other youth-serving programs at Piñon, unprompted. This is significant because youth in general don't often seek out help of their own accord, and this youth in particular had most often spoken about her mental health as if it didn't matter that it was suffering.

o One of the YAC attendees reached out to me over telephone and email with an interest in maintaining a conversation over the COVID-19 break.

o One of the YAC attendees rose to the challenge of assisting with the creation and execution of a Sources of Strength room at Teen Maze 2019 representing the Piñon Youth Department, demonstrating her increased enthusiasm for serving the students of schools from counties all over southwestern Colorado.

I was able to sit down with a client and have a goal setting session, he knew what he wanted and he came up with ways to assist him in completing this goal. On top of it all I have been told that he is doing much better at home. He also was refusing to wear a mask for school, after our goal setting session we talked about it and he is now attending in classroom school wearing his mask.

I have progressively become more comfortable with the referral process and seeking out resources for clients. This month, I was able to refer all of my students to the collaborative efforts of the Montelores Early Childhood Council and the Salvation Army to offer free backpacks and school supplies to students. I personally signed up 8 students for the backpacks and had 3 others that were able to receive the supplies without the backpack.

Family Services

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens
Families
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Single Parents

Description

Montelores Emergency Assistance Coalition (MEAC) - Emergency Services. This emergency assistance program is designed to provide families with monetary assistance to help deter homelessness, utility shut-off, and involvement of Child Protection Services. Its funding sources include: Salvation Army, Good Samaritan Center, Homeless Prevention Activities Program (HPAP) grant and Department of Social Services (DSS)

Colorado Community Response Program (CCR) -The Colorado Community Response Program is implemented through a grant from the Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood. The program's goals include the enhancement of comprehensive voluntary services for families reported to child protective services but screened out; the increased awareness of the link between poverty and maltreatment, which allows us to connect families to vital economic and other support services.
Financial Health education guides people to become more aware of how they use their finances and economic resources and ultimately how their decisions, behaviors, routines and habits impact their overall well-being. Participants also become more aware of the individuality of their goals and personal values; and what factors, personal behaviors, and decisions in their daily lives affect the achievement of those goals.

Community Engagement Team (CET), CET is a program where families engage with all supports provided in the county at one table, eliminating the need to visit multiple places for resources.

Supervised Visitation & Safe Exchange - provides safe, monitored environment for children to maintain their relationship with a non-custodial parent while the parent resolves court or lifestyle issues.

Successful Families is a life skills program for clients within our community. The program teaches hands on life skills, household chores, grocery shopping on a budget, filling out job applications, mock interviews, resume building, community service, and much more. We also have the following classes offered weekly: Parenting Support, financial health, nutrition/wellbeing, and work readiness. The goal of Successful Families is to assist the clients in becoming self-sufficient and successful families in our community.

WAGEES- The WAGEES program focuses on sets of services provided by local community and faith-based non-profits (CFBOs) to integrate people returning from prison back into community. The LCCL provides grant funding, technical assistance, capacity building and data systems to support the unique program design of each community partner. The Colorado General Assembly passed HB18-1176 increasing WAGEES program grant funding.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

One of our greatest success stories thus far for the 2019-2020 year has to be a family who was engaged in almost every program Pinon has to offer. This family has seen their fair of struggles but through dedication, hard work and engaging in multiple Pinon Project programming they have been able to find support and gain success in the most difficult of struggles. This family was able to participate in the Successful Families programming and complete all the required classes learning many new skills.
During this time, the family gained goal-setting skills, which they set many goals during this time. The two biggest goals were to remain sober and housed. Both of those goals assisted in reunification of their two small children, amongst all of the other parenting support and Pinon Programming. This family continues to show why it is such an important step to seek support while you are in recovery and trying to rebuild your life. This family goes on to succeed and has the opportunity of training as a parent leader to support other parents in recovery.

One couple that sought support through Fatherhood and The Nurturing Father's Program illustrate how this curriculum when practiced and embraced can impact parenting. LK and BK were committed to regaining custody of their child following removal by social services. The transformation that occurred over the 13 weeks was impressive. Where interaction was frequently negative and at times verbally passive aggressive, there was a shift to listening and assertion that brought forth true teamwork needed to successfully achieve the goal of reunification. Witnessing an increased confidence in these parents and their ability to care for themselves first and then each other coincided with the attainment of multiple goals to improve their quality of life. While a recent effort to relocate to another community did not work out for this family, they have proven resilient in returning to the community, maintaining momentum. They are currently moving closer to home ownership so there child has space outside to play. Wanting to grow the family, they await word any day on their desire to adopt another child. This couple exhibits adaptability and determination that instills hope and promise in not only the families, but the programs they access at the Pinon Project.

One success story for MEAC services is reflected in assisting (2) individuals that were found COVID positive and through the DOH funding we were able to provide housing relief for those families .

The Montelores Emergency Assistance Coalition (MEAC) was able to help a young Father who was previously couch surfing obtain housing for himself that was a big step towards his goal of spending more time with his young child and work towards joint custody. This young man obtained a job prior to his approval but was living out of a motel and struggling to come up with the extra funds to pay his rent at the hotel and also cover the expenses to move into a new place. This individual stopped in multiple times to thank us at the Pinon Project for helping him get on his feet and he has expressed a boost in confidence in not having to live out of a small motel room anymore.

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