Redlands organization is working to end child abuse and neglect
By Rebecca K. O'Connor
PUBLISHED: December 10, 2020
At each center, staff is available to advocate for families and help them get many resources available to them. In addition to connecting families to existing programs in the community, the organization implements new programs and services that bridge the gap in needs. By providing services to promote nurturing, resilient families, the organization strives to prevent child abuse and neglect.
“We’re unique in the sense that we have family resources housed at Redlands Unified which are accessible, convenient, trusted locations that make it easy for us to reach out to kids and parents,” said Katie Ear, the organization’s executive director. Building a Generation offers individual and group counseling to children and families. The organization also provides wellness workshops with educational programs in nutrition, parenting, and mental health. Children who depend on free and reduced priced lunches can also obtain Kids Packs from the organization. Kids Packs contain food and hygiene items to help students over the weekends.
The organization quickly shifted to virtual programming at the beginning of the pandemic, offering remote parenting classes. It has also stepped up to help families struggling to put food on the table. Families work with a case manager who tries to provide direct services and connect families with partners for challenges not served by the organization. Case workers help families problem solve and create pathways to overcome the cycle of poverty.
Building a Generation has also converted its BOOST after-school program to a virtual format. The program provides academic support. Children from low income families and marginalized communities are provided with skill-building and enrichment activities as well as mentors.
Ear hopes that Building a Generation will be able to further expand its BOOST program and eventually move to a larger location.
“There is always an urgency to grow BOOST because there are kids out there waiting for our help,” Ear said. “By helping the kids, we also help the parents, bringing them all together so the families can heal, recover and build resiliency.”
Community Garden Volunteers with Sunrise Rotary and Arrowhead Christian Academy
Building a Generation operates Family Resource Centers housed at four elementary schools in Redlands Unified School District. These centers serve as a community hub where families can find resources to inform, educate, and advocate for a stable and healthy living environment for their children.
BOOST Program Kindness Class
“The program doesn’t just provide academic support, we are also using the program to support equity goals,” Ear said. “Kids that are born into poverty don’t have the extra learning time and we are trying to level the playing field.”
Normally the program works with three cohorts of 15 children each. There’s always a waiting list, Ear said. The program has shifted to a virtual platform and staff find creative ways to make the program fun, Ear said. She noted that kids learn through play and life skills are embedded in these activities.
Building a Generation depends on grants and donations and recently received a grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation. Grantors have been generous helping the organization focus on the immediate needs of families such as food insecurity and rental assistance, Ear said. The organization has canceled fundraisers and will need community support.