U B Blue, 2?

Deserving of a Blue Ribbon, Part 2Go Blue in April logo Turn the Town Blue squared

by Just Add Kids Founder,

Paula Herrmann

Well, April is just about wrapped up, and a couple of campaigns I’m involved with will dwindle down with the promotions. Not that the issues go away…sadly not. Last week, in JAK Chat, I described my work with the Turn the Town Blue Campaign, a Kenosha county-wide initiative to share the light on Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in “Deserving of a Blue Ribbon”. Click the green link, in case you missed it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Part of the focus of this campaign is not only to lace the community with blue ribbons, yet to celebrate strong families by appreciating all the strengths that the families in our community possess and commit to, as well as provide resources that help families become even stronger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Earlier in the month, we held a Celebrate Families dinner event where we announced 4 families who had been nominated and selected for Strong Families Recognition. Let’s meet them! Read more…

  • Betty Collins, children: Breniya, Malcolm and Hezekiah

Betty and her family have overcome homelessness and financial strain through community resources. Betty has progressed in medical care management, parenting knowledge and child development to demonstrate what a strong family looks like.

  • Joel and Angela Gross, children: Alex, Aris, Naomi, Adriana and Maxwell

This blended family of seven had their world flipped upside down when youngest, Max, was born premature with life-threatening complication. After being born Max spent weeks in the NICU in Milwaukee. This family had to reach out to several community resources to help both Max and themselves. Angela has completed her bachelor’s degree and this family has learned that if they work together, as a family, they can overcome all obstacles.

  • Tissa Watson, children: Damien, Ayiana and Drake

Tissa and her family fled an abusive relationship and support systems they had in Illinois to start a new life in Kenosha, WI. Tissa had to start over and rebuild everything for her family. Tissa has been steadily employed for a year, in the same home they moved into from shelter, her children are doing well in school and they are involved in extracurricular activities.

  • Alicia Washington, children: Kevin and Trinity

This family hit bottom when Alicia’s mentor, solid support and brother passed away. Alicia left her emotionally abusive marriage and returned to Kenosha, WI where she was raised. Alicia and her family have participated with community resources and church to receive support. Alicia will graduate with her HSED in May and plans to start Gateway this summer. Alicia has prioritized her children and their education. She is trying to be the best parent possible for her family.

These families were nominated by staff members of agencies that have relationships with families in the community. These are families who they believe are strong, have overcome obstacles and represent the 5 Protective Factors that strengthen families and protect children: 

1 –Nurturing and Attachment

Children’s early experiences of being nurtured and developing positive bonds with adult caregivers have a profound effect on their ability to grow up to be emotionally and socially competent.  When children and parents have a close, trusting relationship, the children grow up believing they will be loved, accepted and protected.  These children are better prepared for life.

2 – Knowledge of child development and parenting 

Parents with knowledge about parenting and their own child’s development have more appropriate expectations and use more developmentally appropriate guidance techniques. Parents who understand how children grow and develop can set up an appropriate environment for them to flourish. 

3 – Concrete support in times of need 

There are factors outside the family unit that affect the family’s ability to care for their children.  Families need food, shelter, clothing, transportation, access to affordable health care, and quality child care to parent appropriately.  Some families need help finding resources to address issues of addiction or domestic violence.  Helping connect families to needed resources reduces stress and helps parents cope. 

4 – Social connections 

Whenever a family is isolated from family or community, the children are more at risk. Trusted family members and caring friends provide the emotional support parents need to face the challenges of parenting.  Parents also learn coping skills and experiences different parenting styles through interactions with other parents.  All parents need help sometimes. 

5 – Parent Resilience 

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties. Resilient parents are able to recognize and acknowledge difficulties while maintaining a positive attitude.  They can creatively solve problems, and effectively address challenges. When parents are resilient, they are less likely to take their frustrations out on their children. 

The information in this handout came from a publication called, “Strengthening Families and Communities,” by the Department of Health & Human Services.  Visit the website at www.childwelfare.gov/preventing

We congratulate the families highlighted above. And as parents, we too can always use some tips and tools to help us keep our cool. Try these…

blue ribbon template 2014


If you’re on Facebook, please “LIKE” our page, and stay in the know on the Turn the Town Blue Campaign.




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