NEWTON, NJ – After she graduated from high school, Sussex County resident Kristina Brown chose to enter the workforce, finding employment at local retail outlets. She kept busy with her large extended family, and gradually lost touch with many of her friends. Once she became pregnant, she sought assistance at Project Self-Sufficiency, registering for the agency’s Parents as Teachers home visitation program. 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.
Kristina looks forwards to the monthly meetings from her certified home visitor, who brings along games, literacy skills activities and child development guidelines for Kristina and her son each time she visits. “I am able to talk with her and she gives me good advice.” For example, the home visitor recently offered guidance about potty-training her son. “She gave me a lot of information. I learned how to praise my son when he goes on the potty.”
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. Kristina faithfully attends the Mommy Parties at Project Self-Sufficiency each month, and she enjoys spending time with new friends. “It’s a lot easier for me to talk to women, and I get a lot of feedback about things that are important to me.”
Kristina has also taken advantage of some of the job training services offered at Project Self-Sufficiency, and she was delighted to be able to function well in the agency’s Career Center. “The most surprising thing is that they are able to understand my needs and work with me. I have started to come out of my shell. It has made a big difference. Project Self-Sufficiency has been a great help to me and my family.”
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.