CHARLESTON — Organizers are honoring the memory of Violet Lorraine Kiest, daughter of Alexandra and Josh Kiest, and granddaughter of Carole Lathrop Genta of Mattoon, who died on March 10, 2018, though the "For the Love of Violet" event.
On Thursday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m., the Family Worship Center Women of Faith Group at 411 Jackson St. in Charleston, led by Mary Pollum, will celebrate Violet's birthday month by collecting items for the "Birth to Three" program, led by program director Katrina Farris.
This program helps mothers that need items for their babies as well as have play dates and educational programs for encouraging healthy growth for babies as well as toddlers up to three.
Organizers are asking that each person bring items or give a donation to help the children in the program. The following items are requested: diapers, especially size 2, baby blankets, infant girl clothing 0 to 3 months, crib mattresses, sheets, and blankets, but donations of other items are welcome as well. Please attach a note to your gift, that says, "For the Love of Violet"
The Birth to Three program, an affiliate of Baby Talk and Mattoon Community School District is a voluntary, free program intended to support families by providing free developmental and social emotional screenings on the children ages 3 or younger.
A family resource assessment is also completed. The data collected is used to create a goal plan to connect families with resources that will best meet their needs. It's the program's goal to create a healthy relationship with families to create a positive long-lasting bond that will also support the family during the child's educational career.
Working alongside local resources they also help support families by providing for the needs for the children, taking donations of new and used items from prenatal clothes to cribs, mattresses, car seats, children clothing, bottles, sippy cups, breastfeeding pads, diapers, toys, etc. The items donated are then given to families in need.
Monthly playgroups occur in Mattoon and Charleston. Monthly parent education classes are provided and monthly family nights. Families enrolled into the program are also visited biweekly by a home visitor. Goals are created and supported during these visits while promoting parent/child interaction time.
Along with other educational items, the program also provides a lending library to the community. The library consists of over 100 book and toy backpacks, children's books, toys, learning materials, and a parenting section. Computers are available for families to use to work on job search resumes and taking classes online.
For more information about the program, contact Katrina Farris, director of Early Childhood for the Mattoon School District at (217) 238-8806.
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