On the sunny afternoon of Thursday, June 25, young children enrolled in the Head Start First Step program run by Community Link enjoyed a swim at the pool at Nashville Memorial Park.
The swim day was part of a play group for the First Steps program , where children along with their parents can play, do activities and learn , as well as socialize and make friends with other kids their age.
Community Link initiated the first home-based infant stimulation program in Southern Illinois. This program has grown over the years into First Step Early Learning and Family Support Programs. First Step is dedicated to providing exceptional family centered services to families who have children up to the age of three. Early Head Start is a federally funded, home-based program for low-income pregnant women and families with children three years and younger in Clinton and Washington Counties who are homeless, receiving TANF or SSI, in foster care, or if the family’s income is at or below the Federal Poverty level. Priority for enrollment is based on risk factors including children with disabilities. The program is funded to serve 54 children and pregnant women within Clinton and Washington Counties.
The program uses the Parents-As-Teachers model, which is research based and nationally regarded. We offer families a sense of belonging, other support services, and a chance to be involved in activities to help the whole family. A number of programs are provided to the children and families we serve, including Early Intervention Services, Infant Mental Health Services, Prevention Services, and Children’s Waver Program. In addition, First Step Early Head Start provides services for prenatal education, parenting education and support, child development services, play groups, family activities, medical linkages, linkages to community resources, transitions, and limited transportation.
The goal of the Early Head Start Program is to assist families to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhance the development of very young children, promote healthy family functioning, and provide opportunities for parents to have a voice in shared governance.
Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to challenge, teach and inspire both participants and community, linking them in ways that enhance their lives. For more information, please visit our website at www.commlink.org.