After relocating from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, Nanci Davis needed help getting back on her feet financially. The mother of three initially approached Project Self-Sufficiency for assistance in obtaining public assistance and childcare. She was surprised to learn that the agency offered free skills assessments and job training, along with guidance about interviewing skills and resume development. When she learned about the agency’s home visitation programs, she registered on the spot. “I signed up for the Parents as Teachers program. I thought it would help me to get back on my feet and make me the best person I could be.”
Project Self-Sufficiency offers three separate home visitation programs tailored to meet the needs of low-income parents. Trained counselors or nurses visit participants regularly in the privacy of their own home, bringing along helpful information about child development, nutrition, parenting skills, literacy, and community services. In addition to home visits, parents and their children are invited to monthly outings at Project Self-Sufficiency. These gatherings provide participants with the means to meet others in similar circumstances, while hearing from guest speakers, having lunch, and enjoying games and crafts with their children.
The Parents as Teachers home visitation program offered by Project Self-Sufficiency gives parents a variety of tools to help their children with literacy and health issues. The program also allows trained home visitors to assess crucial developmental delays which might otherwise have been overlooked before the child entered kindergarten. Services are available to income-eligible residents of Sussex and northern Warren Counties. “I have learned techniques for helping my children to learn, as well as the importance of getting down on the floor and playing with them,” notes Nanci. “The home visitors genuinely care about my kids and care about their future. It’s not just a job to them.”
Nanci has also taken advantage of the monthly gatherings, or “Mommy Parties,” offered by Project Self-Sufficiency to home visitation program participants. “The Mommy Parties have been excellent. I can hear guest speakers and interact with other mothers. Through this program I have learned developmentally where my kids should be, and I can understand why kids do what they do.”
Nanci notes that the home visitation program has helped her in ways she did not expect. “I am definitely a different person that I was when I went into the program.” She has utilized many of the services available at Project Self-Sufficiency. Getting help with her resume served as a springboard for finding employment, as well as personal growth. “I didn’t know that there was a program to teach you the skills that you needed. Recognizing that I had all of those skills and putting together my resume was one of the biggest achievements of my life. I am working on trying things that are available in life, so that I can be a more well-rounded person.” She credits the home visitation program for alerting her to some of these possibilities. “I’ve learned about so many community-based things that I can do with my kids.”
Nanci has progressed in her job and is currently training to become a pharmacy technician. The multi-faceted programs at Project Self-Sufficiency have given her the tools to grow personally as well as professionally. “Project Self-Sufficiency is all these things that work together. It has taught me to say ‘yes’ to experiences, because each experience brings you closer to the door of opportunity.”
All three home visitation programs offered by Project Self-Sufficiency are available to income-eligible participants. Other factors, such as residency, pregnancy and the age and number of children, help determine which program is best suited for the parents’ needs. The Nurse Family Partnership® Program offers home visits to women in Sussex, Hunterdon and Warren Counties who are pregnant with their first child. The Healthy Families home visitation program is available to at-risk single parents, teen parents, and two-parent families in Sussex and northern Warren Counties during pregnancy and through the child’s third birthday. The Parents as Teachers program is designed for women who are parenting and infant or toddler in Sussex or Hunterdon Counties. All three programs are funded by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families.
Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability. Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children.
To learn more about the home visitation programs at Project Self-Sufficiency, or to receive information about any of the other services offered by the agency, call 973-940-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.