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PACT CAB member Gloria Vazquez Merrick interviewed by ABC channel 27 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

ABC27 recognizes Hispanic and Latino Americans’ contributions by highlighting people’s stories during Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Born and raised in Dauphin County, Gloria Vazquez Merrick has been impacting the Hispanic community her entire life. There are certain people who are just called to improve the lives of others. Gloria Vazquez Merrick is one of those people.” Click here to read more.

New research from Dr. Dawn Witherspoon, including former grad student Dr. Wei Wei: "Neighborhood-level predictors of African American and Latinx parents' ethnic-racial socialization"

Few studies examine how neighborhood structural factors (e.g., socioeconomic status [SES] and diversity) and perceived disorder may influence the messages parents communicate to their youth about race/ethnicity.
New research from Dr. Dawn Witherspoon, including former grad student Dr. Wei Wei: "Neighborhood-level predictors of African American and Latinx parents' ethnic-racial socialization"

Dr. Dawn Witherspoon

Few studies examine how neighborhood structural factors (e.g., socioeconomic status [SES] and diversity) and perceived disorder may influence the messages parents communicate to their youth about race/ethnicity. Guided by the integrative model and social disorganization theory, this study examines how parents' ethnic–racial socialization messages (ERS) are shaped by the broader environment. Click here to read more.

Community Spotlight: Grandparents Involved From The Start (GIFTS)

Grandparents Involved From the Start, Inc. (GIFTS) is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support to grandparents who are raising school-aged grandchildren between the ages of 5 to 18 years old.
Community Spotlight: Grandparents Involved From The Start (GIFTS)

Dolorez Cobb-Jones

Grandparents Involved From the Start, Inc. (GIFTS) is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support to grandparents who are raising school-aged grandchildren between the ages of 5 to 18 years old. Established in August 2011, GIFTS’ mission is to assist grandparents with sound information, advice, and noteworthy resources about topics that may affect their ability to raise grandchildren.

GIFTS was founded by Dolorez Cobb-Jones, who has decades of experience in public education as a previous teacher and school principal in the Harrisburg and Lancaster school districts. As a principal, Mrs. Cobb-Jones met with many parents and caregivers and noticed that there was a lack of support for grandparents who have become sole caregivers for their grandchildren. Mrs. Cobb-Jones noted that grandparents were struggling with raising their grandchildren and needed additional support to navigate raising children in the 21st century. Mrs. Cobb-Jones also had her personal experience with helping her mother raise her niece. From these professional and personal experiences, Mrs. Cobb-Jones established GIFTS and has been supporting grandparents across the greater Harrisburg community for a decade.

GIFTS offers an array of resources, informational sessions, and programs that cater to what grandparents need and want in their journey of raising their grandchildren. Partnered with Lee’s Good Eats, GIFTS gives away fresh produce every Tuesday from 11 am to 12 pm at the Neighborhood Center located at 1801 N 23rd St. in Harrisburg, PA. They also hold a monthly online forum, The Grandparents Information Forum (TGIF), where they discuss specific topics like kinship care, financial literacy, etc. Depending on the topic, GIFTS brings in experts to provide the necessary information and resources for grandparents. In May, GIFTS organized their second Annual Women of Wisdom Grandmother’s Celebration. During this event, GIFTS identified five grandmothers in the community who were raising their grandchildren and had overcome particular circumstances.

GIFTS has been recognized and received numerous awards and grants for its hard work in the community. In April, Mrs. Cobb-Jones was awarded the Hidden Figure Award from Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church for her service to her community through GIFTS. In 2020, GIFTS received a grant from the Dauphin County Local Share Program. With this grant, GIFTS was able to purchase grand-pads (i.e., iPads with special features for grandparents) to giveaway to grandparents in Steelton, PA, who participated in GIFTS’ informational sessions.  They have also received a grant from the Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation to work with Susquehanna Township and Steelton-Highspire School Districts. Using this grant, GIFTS has organized sessions for grandparents and will be providing gift cards for food, gas, clothes, school supplies, and personal use. GIFTS has been selected to be the 2021 MLK Peace Project Recipient sponsored by the Center for Schools and Communities (CSC). As a recipient, the CSC will work with GIFTS on professional development, technology, ways to support families experiencing homelessness, and more.

To learn more and keep up with GIFTS, please visit their website at www.giftsgivelife.com, their Facebook - @giftsgivelife, or send them an email at info@giftsgivelife.com.

Congratulations to Dr. Sunhye Bai for receiving a 2021 SRCD Small Grants Program for Early Career Scholars

The Small Grants Program celebrates its fourth year by awarding up to $7,500 USD to each of the thirteen selected projects, directly supporting a diverse group of early career researchers from institutions in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Singapore.
Congratulations to Dr. Sunhye Bai for receiving a 2021 SRCD Small Grants Program for Early Career Scholars

Dr. Sunhye Bai

Driven by its Strategic Plan, the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) recognizes the importance of capacity building for early career scholars seeking to establish their research programs, especially considering the limited funding available for conducting exploratory work and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Grants Program for Early Career Scholars addresses this need within developmental science by supporting pilot or small-scale research projects proposed by members who completed their doctoral degree within the last five years. Click here to view the whole story.

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