We work to identify and fill gaps in services needed by Lowell families. This includes connecting families to community resources and helping them navigate social services. It can also involve working in collaboration with other agencies and the Department of Children and Families to develop a comprehensive and coordinated approach to supporting and strengthening families. This can also mean developing new services and programs in response to unmet needs, such as the Lowell Diaper Bank and Parent Cafes (see below for more information).
Our big-picture work on behalf of families addresses missing structural elements in Lowell that impact quality of life. REAL Change, Immigrant & Refugee Support, and Community Building are three program areas that address issues affecting families, from voting rights to affordable housing to helping neighbors connect with each other.
The following programs and initiatives are designed to help Lowell families thrive.
Parent Cafes - new
How do parents learn and grow?
One important way is by sharing personal experiences around parenting, which can build a sense of community and reduce stress. Through shared experience, parents not only learn from each other, they also gain insight about strategies they can use in the context of their own family dynamics.
Parent Cafes combines this important connection among parents with learning more about the Five Protective Factors, to help emphasize: Parental resilience, the importance of having friends and a support network, understanding how children grow and develop, and discovering how to help children handle their feelings.
In early 2018, Lowell Alliance will hold the City's first Parent Cafe for parents at Greenhalge Elementary School, in partnership with school staff and the NFI Family Resource Center of Lowell. In four evening sessions, parents will gather in small groups to discuss questions like the ones listed above, develop a larger support system, and consider new ways of meeting challenges as parents. For more information on this new program, email Mary Tauras or call 978-454-5405.
Boston Basics / Lowell Basics - New
The Boston Basics are five simple but powerful principles that encompass much of what experts believe is important for children from birth to age three. These include:
- Maximize love, manage stress
- Talk, sing and point
- Count, group, and compare
- Explore through movement and play
- Read and discuss stories
The Boston Basics coalition of organization and individuals promotes these evidence-based principles to parents and caregivers throughout the city of Boston, to help make sure every child there gets a great start in life.
After inviting Boston Basics founder Ron Ferguson to introduce the model and process to Lowell agencies, Lowell Alliance has formed a committee of early childhood development specialists and other services providers to explore creating a "Lowell Basics" campaign to benefit Lowell's families and children. A successful campaign similar to Boston Basics would involved a commitment from key stakeholders across the city - including health care providers, small businesses, schools and libraries - to engage families and help spread the message of the five principles. We will provide updates on our progress in the months to come.
No parent should have to decide between buying diapers, paying rent, or keeping the heat turned on. Yet nearly 30 percent of families in the Lowell area are likely to face this choice in the year ahead.
Lowell Alliance helps families in need by managing the Lowell Diaper Bank and providing free, emergency diapers to local agencies who work directly with families. Each year we give out more than 500 cases of diapers - provided in large part by donations - which keeps kids healthy and reduces family stress.
For agencies interested in becoming a member of the Diaper Bank, click here.