Collaboration with Local College Benefits Eva’s Village Kids, Moms, and Staff

A mom and her kids explore the new mobile library with a staff member and other children living at Eva’s Hope Residence.

“It is never too early to start reading to a child. . . because storytelling is an important way we learn about the world,” Nicole DeNude, Passaic County Community College educator.

In June, educators from Passaic County Community College (PCCC) introduced the mothers at Eva’s Village Hope Residence to a mobile library filled with picture books, toys and simple games. Facilitators from the college showed the moms how to use the materials to connect with their children—demonstrating that these items aren’t just fun for the kids, but can also be tools for learning and bonding.

“It is never too early to start reading to a child. Read to your kids even before they can talk, because storytelling is an important way we learn about the world,” explained Nicole DeNude, a PCCC educator. “Reading with your child may start a conversation that can turn into quality time,” she continued. Asking kids open-ended questions about storybook characters, plot and vocabulary can boost learning and reading readiness. Some stories also help kids identify and deal with emotions like sadness and anger that can feel overwhelming.

Mothers come to Hope Residence seeking help to recover from homelessness or from substance use disorders and mental illness. While they work towards independence and stability, Eva’s Childcare and Education staff cares for their children. During recovery, moms learn new parenting skills and are introduced to activities that help strengthen bonds with their children– which can be as simple as reading a book together.

Before meeting with the mothers, PCCC facilitators…

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