1. Serving as an extended family: this component is and will continue to be an important part of every child's and every mother's relationship with Sophia Project. It includes parenting education, respite care, workshop and activity days, individual meetings, guidance, referrals, home visits, emotional support, outings, and celebration of the important occasions in the lives of the children and families.
2. Rainy day assistance: this component of the program assists with the occasional utility, health or food bill or with, for example, the purchase of shoes or a school uniform; in other words the occasional shortfall.
3. Leap forward: this component funds larger one-time costs that will allow the child or the family to take a significant step forward. These costs include: housing security deposits, tuition assistance for those children who have completed our programs and need help to become eligible for future academic scholarships, durable furniture for new stable housing for our families, and adult education opportunities.
4. Loan fund: This component allows our families to access short-term no-interest loans for personal or family emergencies. Typical loans are approximately $300 and they are paid back in 3 to 6 months. The total loan fund is $5,000.
We have repeatedly seen that this intense way of working - a wise and healing education within a loving community - brings about deep transformation. The future impact of some capacities that are gained can be hard to measure. The value of other capacities is in what they prevent in later life, also difficult to measure. But there are many that are tangible results now. These include the following:
- The children who have been in the early childhood program are all participating well in school. Their teachers regularly remark upon the children's social skills and the harmony they bring to their respective classrooms.
- All the families who have been through the program remain housed.
- We received an award for excellence in neighborhood renewal.
- We are frequently recommended as a resource for other agencies to learn about ' best practices ' for the population of children we serve.
- There are many instances of the children and families acting as agents of change in their own environments.