This nonprofit has a knack for turning clients into employees - Generocity Philly

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Feb. 2, 2017 12:41 pm

This nonprofit has a knack for turning clients into employees

Twenty-five percent of home visitors with early childhood education nonprofit Parent-Child Home Program are former parents in the program. Pennsylvania chief Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum shares some secrets.

Disclaimer: These are not real children, and those are not real books.

(Photo by Flickr user Sharon Mollerus, used under a Creative Commons license)

Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) knows hows to scale.

The pre-K readiness and parent engagement nonprofit isn’t completely new to Philadelphia: It had an operation here as recently as 2008 in partnership with the School District. PCHP made its triumphant return eight years later, in July of 2016, and with new partners and funders, the program has been showing steady growth ever since — as expected.

PCHP prides itself on the lean, evidence-based program it’s built a reputation for across 14 states and five countries.

“The program can be done anywhere. That’s the beauty of it — the simplicity,” said PCHP’s Pennsylvania executive director, Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum. “And the cultural and linguistic match is important.”

That’s where PCHP’s secret lies. Community-based organizations can adopt the program, which has trained local educators visit homes to help parents better interact with their young children through reading and playing over a two-year period.

Children who have gone through the program have been proven to outperform their peers in both reading and math by third grade.

As for parents who have gone through the program? Interestingly, 25 percent of PCHP’s home visitors across the country are former program parents. The nonprofit has a history of evolving into an employment opportunities for families that participate in the program.

Malkia

Singleton Ofori-Agyekum (Courtesy photo)

“This program tries to meet people where they’re at,” she said. “Not where we think they should be, but where they really are.”

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In Philadelphia, PCHP has partnered with the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Public Health Management Corporation, with support from GreenLight Fund PhiladelphiaVanguard and the William Penn Foundation. The goal for 2017 is to work with 50 families in North Philly and 50 in South Philly.

Next year, expect the program to be working with twice the amount of families.

“The goal is by 2020 to be serving 400 families a year,” said Ofori-Agyekum. “That’s ambitious, but I think we’re going to get there. What it can do to philadelphia, I think it could be huge. It could be a game changer.”

Ofori-Agyekum’s optimism is fueled by her own passion for the space — after spending 13 years in emergency housing at People’s Emergency Center and then Episcopal Community Services, the early childhood education specialist is just pleased to be working in, well, early childhood education again.

“I’m happier when I’m plugged in to childhood,” she said. “It’s a full-circle moment for me to be back.”

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