IMPACT is a neighborhood-based family resource center that operates out of Grand St. Settlement's Early Learn Center at 319 Stanhope St. in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The program provides individualized services as well as group support and peer-based leadership training to low-income mothers in Bushwick. IMPACT helps women defeat the isolation that can come from the linguistic, economic, and cultural barriers faced by many in New York City.
The program advances the short-term economic stability of the women in our community by providing access to childcare (removing barriers to employment), facilitating access to income supports such as food stamps and other government programs, and improving earning capacity through the connection to education (particularly ESL and GED classes).
IMPACT advances the long-term economic stability of women by contributing to the stabilization of households in our community. This stability extends to the personal growth and empowerment that women experience through participation, learning, and the support networks of their peers, which translates to confidence and resilience.
Voices from the Community
"I found so many mothers and women like me. I'm really not alone. I am going to keep passing on the strength that I found here." -Bushwick IMPACT parent
"Bushwick IMPACT is the leading program in the Bushwick community for early childhood development. The services provided -- Parent and Child Development, Family Literacy and Leadership Development -- are essential ingredients that our community needs to succeed. Bushwick IMPACT is vital, and a staple in my district -- we are lucky having them working with families providing the necessary services for children to develop properly and thrive." -City Council Member Diana Reyna
"I am really thankful that an organization like Bushwick IMPACT exists to fulfill a much needed impetus for parents and their families. The parents have become familiar with us [Brooklyn Library] and are not hesitant to ask for materials..." -Felix Plaza, Brooklyn Public Library
Regular IMPACT Activities
· Individual Coaching: Women in the IMPACT program have access to vital, one-on-one support addressing issues of poverty, education, housing, immigration, parenting, communication, navigating systems, and advocacy through individual Coaching Sessions. Through these sessions, women work to set concrete goals, and are connected with a wide referral network of supports as necessary. Critically, IMPACT’s placement within GSS’ Early Learn Center means that mothers have access to child care, removing a crucial barrier to employment.
· Weekly Family Read-Aloud: Mothers connect with their children, and with other families, and build a foundation of literacy in these weekly sessions.
· Bi-weekly Mothers Support Group: These ongoing sessions, facilitated by the IMPACT Parent Advocate in collaboration with a licensed social worker, help women to address parenting and personal concerns with their peers and with qualified professionals.
· Parent Ambassador Leadership Training: At the heart of the IMPACT program is the peer leadership training offered annually to 10-12 women in our community. This training guides local mothers in becoming effective neighborhood “ambassadors,” providing instruction and experience in public outreach and information campaigning. Ambassadors then reach scores of women with critical and timely resource information, and connect many new community members to IMPACT’s programming. Through the program, ambassadors gain workforce experience while disseminating important information to local mothers regarding available services such as income supports (food stamps, health care); adult education to improve their employability (GED, ESL); and work supports (child care, immigration counseling).
It is our goal that parents are operating at their own highest potential so that they are best equipped to support their children's development. Our Family Support program component involves: assisting parents with navigation and coordination of services, coordinating case management, information accessibility, and referrals, facilitating parent support groups, encouraging an atmosphere of peer counseling and providing peer social opportunities.
It is our goal that all parents are empowered to affect positive community change. Our advocacy and leadership program component involves: providing training and coaching (advocacy, assertiveness, communication, etc.) for parents to become parent leaders, assisting with and educating parents about system navigation, offering networking and intern/mentorship opportunities, and acting as a conduit for participation in community meetings. Our Family Support program component involves: assisting parents with navigation and coordination of services; coordinating case management, information accessibility, and referrals; facilitating parents support groups; encouraging an atmosphere of peer counseling and providing peer social opportunities.
It is our goal that all children are functioning socially and developmentally at an age appropriate level, increasing their chances of school readiness and educational success. Our child development program component involves: providing information, linkage & service coordination for child care & services (special needs, assessments, etc.); workshops on parenting & child development, currently based on the Born Learning campaign; and social & cultural activities for families.
Luz Cruz Rosario, Parent Advocate: Luz became a Parent Advocate in January 2007, after graduating from IMPACT’s Parent Voices Advocacy Training Program where, as she says, “I found my voice.” Luz brings boundless energy and non-stop enthusiasm to her work, helping even the shyest of parents to feel welcome at IMPACT. Luz credits her experiences at IMPACT with empowering her to navigate the Department of Education and enroll each of her children into programs well-suited to their learning needs. In turn, Luz is passionate about her work as a Parent Advocate, and sees her role as helping other parents find their voice to advocate for themselves and their families, particularly with regard to children’s special needs. Luz is a mother of three children and volunteers in a Pre-Kindergarten class as a Learning Leader at their elementary school, PS 274. Luz has completed two years of college and is now working towards her Child Development Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Lucy is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Sylvia Piedad-Cruz, Parent Advocate: Sylvia became a Parent Advocate in September 2007, after nearly a year of participation in IMPACT’s Family Literacy Activities and Parenting & Child Development Workshop series. Sylvia’s advocacy efforts started when her own children were young, when she figured out how to navigate the city systems and advocate for the special educational services she felt her children needed. At IMPACT, Sylvia is known for her great hospitality to all visitors, as well as her success with increasing our outreach to Mexican families. Sylvia has taken over IMPACT’s monthly Books and Cooks program, charming families with her humor and warmth as she helps build a love of learning through reading and food. Sylvia has over 10 years of office experience, and in addition to her Parent Advocate duties, provides administrative and operational support to IMPACT. She has completed two years of her BA in Education and Psychology at the City University of New York, is bilingual in Spanish and English, and is the proud mother of two.
The New York Women’s Foundation