by Lauren Melillo, Sandwich Partnership for Families Program Coordinator
The recent announcement of the relocation of the Sandwich Partnership for Families (SPF) “Discovery Center” from the Sandwich Public Library to the Forestdale School next September has revealed some confusion and misconceptions about this beloved community program. Take this quiz to see what YOUR SPF rating is!
- The Sandwich Partnership for Families is a program of:
- A. The Sandwich Public Library
- B. The Sandwich Public Schools
- C. The Sandwich Recreation Department
Answer: B. The Sandwich Public Schools. Though the Library and Rec. Dept. have hosted SPF programs for years, they do so as good neighbors, who share a common mission of serving the children and families of Sandwich. The Program Coordinator’s Office is still in her original location at the Wing School.
- The funding for this program is made available from:
- A. The Sandwich Town Budget
- B. The Sandwich School Budget
- C. A grant from the Mass. Department of Early Education and Care
Answer: C. The Sandwich Public Schools was awarded the funding for this Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant for the purposes of enhancing school readiness & success for children under the age of 5, while also supporting families and communities in this important work.
- This program was initially granted to Sandwich under the name “Sandwich Community Partnerships for Children” (later changed to Sandwich Partnership for Families) in:
- A. 1996
- B. 2005
- C. 2013
Answer: A. Funding was originally allocated in 1996, with the purpose of providing school readiness for only children aged 3 & 4. It included funding for tuition assistance to public and private preschools, and professional development for preschool teachers. When research proved that children’s early brain development was crucial, and that families were critical to children’s academic success, the mission shifted to family-centered services for children prenatally through age 5, with family support programs for children up to age 8.
Tuition assistance and professional development funding was shifted to regional EEC’s agencies to provide.
- To be eligible for participation in this program, children must be:
- A. low-income
- B. aged 3 or older
- C. accompanied by a parent or guardian
Answer: C. All young children are welcome, regardless of age, income, or developmental level! We are here to support all children and their families as they embark on “Childhood: A Journey, Not a Race” . We understand that parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love, and encourage parents to share, network, and build community as the children grow up together.
- This program’s annual funding amount is:
- A. less than $40,000
- B. less than $100,000
- C. less than $200,000
Answer: Trick Question! Technically, all of the above, as the funding amount of $37,500 is less than all of the above. Funding was once over $220,000 due in large part to tuition assistance funds for parents, but this current level of funding supports the Program Coordinator, Outreach Specialist, and Early Childhood Specialist (whose combined hours equal less then 1 full time position), as well as all program supplies and materials for office, outreach, family events and children’s programming.
- The estimated number of children served during the last seventeen years is:
- A. 300
- B. 3,000
- C. 5,000
Answer: C. Data kept over the last 5 years average slightly more than 300 children registered each year for Sandwich Partnership programs. Doing the math, over the course of 17 years, this program has served approximately 5,100 children.
In 2013, more than 2,000 child & parent visits were recorded, with an additional attendance of 1,550 for family literacy programs at the Sandwich Library in just one year!
This amazing level of participation and programming would not have been possible without the tremendous community support the Sandwich Partnership for Families receives from local service organizations such as the Sandwich Kiwanis Club, the Sandwich Women’s Club, The Sandwich Cultural Council, as well as many businesses in town.
This year, many of our Discovery Center children will be successful graduates of Sandwich High School! We invite ALL our alumni to help us celebrate our beginnings as we also set forth on the next path of our journey! To stay connected, visit our Sandwich Partnership for Families Facebook page for updates and announcements on reunions, TBT Photo Contests, and Parent Playgroup Socials!
She has worked for over 30 years with young children and families in public non-profits, private schools, hospital sponsored programs, Headstart, and most recently, as the Sandwich Public School’s Community and Family Engagement Coordinator. A mother of five, she all too well understands the demands of family life and the joys of parenting, as well as the importance of the early years on children’s future success!