New Talk/Read/Succeed! center opens at Duggan Park Apartments
It’s official – Talk/Read/Succeed! has a new home at Springfield Housing Authority’s Duggan Park Apartments.
It is the third T/R/S! location for SHA, representing an expansion of the family-based early literacy program.
The six-room unit at 435 Goodwin St. in the family development in the Indian Orchard section of the city has been outfitted with furniture and office supplies, ready for the 195 Duggan families to check out opportunities for events like nutrition classes, employment searches and, best of all, literacy-based activities for parents and children alike. To come soon is a computer lab.
Already, the new center has been bustling, said Resident Services Coordinator Daisy Gomez. Parents and children have been stopping by to check out the new digs and to find out what will go on there.
“It’s safe to say everybody is very excited about it,” Gomez said on a recent day, when parents and children were walking up to pick up lunches and talk about programming that is in the planning stages.
“We’re working hard to get the word out to everyone at Duggan that we’re here now. There is a lot of interest and we expect that to continue,” she said.
T/R/S! began in 2010, connecting families at Sullivan and Robinson Gardens Apartments with their feeder schools, Boland and Dorman. At Duggan, the Indian Orchard Elementary School is a partner, with programming already underway at both locations.
The new T/R/S! center is a two-story apartment that will have plenty of room for classes downstairs – that will include family-based literacy activities, cooking classes, parenting sessions and computer time, both in a formal learning setting as well as free time for residents to work on things like resume-building and job-hunting.
Upstairs are three offices, one of them to be used for family counseling and another for the Housing First program, which gives support to families recently out of shelter.
Parents agree that the programs and services are welcome, and will help them guide their children towards improved literacy.
“I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time here,” said Merary Espada, mother of three young children.
“Everything Daisy has told me about it sounds great. She’s working for us, to help the families here at Duggan. I’ll do everything I can,” Espada noted.
SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin said the authority is thrilled to be expanding to a third location with T/R/S! because the program works.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity to provide families at Duggan with a program that is a proven success,” Abrashkin said. “Talk/Read/Succeed! helps move families toward self-sufficiency. It connects children and parents with schools and other services in a comprehensive way that has shown good results.”
Duggan is the newest location for the T/R/S!, a place-based early literacy program that focuses on entire families in an effort to boost literacy, and improve school performance among children and financial independence among parents.
T/R/S! is a nationally-acclaimed “break the cycle” education program operating in three public housing developments in the Springfield, Massachusetts Housing Authority. Based on research establishing that the earliest years of a child’s life are crucial for later success in education, Talk/Read/Succeed! provides families and children with on-site supports and a menu of coordinated services, starting at birth, that are needed for children to succeed in school and become productive, self-sustaining adults.
The immediate goal of Talk/Read/Succeed! is grade level reading by third grade – a key indicator of ultimate school success. Achieving this goal requires the wrap-around services that Talk/Read/Succeed! provides.
Collaborative partners in Talk/Read/Succeed! include the Davis Foundation, the Springfield Public Schools, the local workforce board, the Behavioral Health Network, the CLASP Summer Learning Partnership, the Springfield Teachers Union, Head Start, and numerous other agencies and organizations.
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