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Village of Promise gears up for summer; parent shares her success story

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:03 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Village of Promise, a family advancement center in Huntsville, is eager to help families across the Tennessee Valley this summer.

The nonprofit was able to keep its doors open amid the pandemic and it grew significantly. Program leaders hope to work with parents who want to jump back into the workforce or go back to school. They also want to continue helping kids develop lifelong skills.

“We would love for everybody to come and visit the Village, see what we do, be a part of loving your neighbor,” Executive Director Dr. Libby Parker said.

The Village of Promise works to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in our community. It offers a variety of daily childcare programs for infants, toddlers, and Pre-K children. Family connection and adult education programs are also available.

“We have 17 adults working with Elton Akins, our Workforce Development Coordinator,” Parker said. “He does a fantastic job.”

Right now, Freedom School is in full-swing. It’s a free six-week summer reading program for kids, funded by the Children’s Defense Fund, United Way and donors. Parker said the goal is to fill summer learning gaps.

According to Parker, there is a waiting list for childcare right now, but her team is working with the city to find ways to expand. She also wants to spread the message that Village of Promise is always looking for daycare workers.

“If there is somebody that has experience in early childhood and would like to be part of the Village team, they can contact us and we’ll get them lined up,” Parker said.

2020 was a tough year, but Dr. Parker is proud of her team for keeping programs alive and is optimistic about their future plans.

“When I started, April 1st of 2020, we had 12 family advancement plans completed,” Parker said. “12 families actively working a family advancement plan. Now we have 118. We hired an additional family advancement specialist so we have two that work with our families and I think that’s made a real difference.”

The Village of Promise certainly made a difference for Tawny Hobbs. In fact, she said it changed her life, and now she’s urging parents to utilize all of the great resources that have helped her and her son over the past year and a half.

“Being a part of Village of Promise is amazing,” she said. “I highly recommend parents and especially single moms that need help to provide childcare or just to have someone to talk to because they are here for all of that. If you want to go back to school, if you want to work, if you need help with anything, they are here.”

Hobbs is a single mother, working to become a medical assistant. She’s been able to go to school, find an internship and gain mentors through the Village of Promise, even during the pandemic.

Her 5-year-old son is also part of the program.

“At first it was a little iffy for CJ,” Hobbs said. “But he has expanded tremendously. He picks up on things on his own. He has benefited a lot.”

Before joining the Village of Promise, Hobbs had been trying to start her own non-profit. Now, she has mentors to guide her through the process.

“I wanted to start my nonprofit organization by feeding the homeless,” Hobbs said. “We have guest speakers that come in, and anything I need, they help me with. I prayed for it and they came.”

Hobbs said her mentor, Mr. Elton, always pushes her to do her best. She hopes families will utilize this powerful nonprofit in our community.

“Please come. Bring your families, bring your mom, your grandma,” Hobbs said. “Everybody is welcome because there is something for everybody to do here and it benefits everyone. I promise you won’t be let down.”

For more information, check out the Village of Promise website here: https://www.villageofpromise.org/our-team

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