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APA apologizes for its role in longstanding contributions to systemic racism

“APA is profoundly sorry, accepts responsibility for, and owns the actions and inactions of APA itself, the discipline of psychology, and individual psychologists who stood as leaders for the organization and field,” the apology states.

“For the first time, APA and American psychology are systematically and intentionally examining, acknowledging and charting a path forward to address their roles in perpetuating racism,” said APA President Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD. “These resolutions are just the first steps in a long process of reconciliation and healing. This important work will set the path for us to make real change and guide the association and psychology moving forward.” Click here to read the full article.

Community Spotlight: Turning a Negative into a Positive: Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes Academy

The curriculum at Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes Academy is age-appropriate and exceeds Pennsylvania's state-wide standard for early learning.
Community Spotlight: Turning a Negative into a Positive: Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes Academy

Bria Cooper

Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes Academy is an early childcare center that serves the greater Harrisburg community. Established in 2015, Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes’ main goal is to help young children learn and develop social skills and self-confidence through play. Creating this center has always been a dream of its founder, Bria Cooper. Using a cash settlement awarded to her after a terrible car accident in 2012, Bria was able to turn a negative situation into a positive and bring her dream into reality by creating Tiny Fingers, Tiny Toes (TFTT) Academy. To help TFTT operate to its full capacity, Bria is joined by her mother, Jennifer Cooper, who serves as Director of Operations, and Nakia Ritter, Director of Education. First starting out in Highland St. in Steelton, TFTT Academy has expanded its locations to Harrisburg and Camp Hill, PA. Bria was intentional in locating the centers in areas like Highland St. and Market St., where she saw a need for quality childcare services for low-income families. 

TFTT Academy aims to promote an environment that is conducive in helping your child grow into a well-rounded young person. The TFTT’s program spans from infancy through preschool, and they have curricula that span from 1st to 5th grade. The main aim of these curricula is to use meaningful play to help young children develop social, emotional, and motor skills. Following the Kaplan Learn Everyday curriculum, each child age-groups is provided with personalized workbooks and activity calendars. These materials are designed to help children achieve positive development and learning at their own level. TFTT has limited the amount of technology (e.g., iPads) used in their curriculum. Technology is reserved for students who can benefit from additional help via virtual and online academic-based programs and games. TFTT teachers are held to high standards. They are required to have their associates or bachelor’s degree and are expected to attend 18 hours of training per year to better their teaching skills. Due to their hard work and quality childcare services, TFTT received three Key Stars at their Steelton site and two Key Stars at their Camp Hill site.

TFTT usually holds various events like Bookbag giveaways and trips to places like Zoo America. However, similar to other businesses, TFTT Academy was also impacted by the pandemic and had to adjust to fit the current times. The academy has now taken on school-age students full-time who have only online classes and are helping them with online classes. They have established COVID-19 safety protocols and follow all guidance from government entities. In addition to helping students, TFTT has also been helping parents by assisting them in renewing or applying to receive government aid for childcare services.

TFTT continues to be a great support for families and children in the greater Harrisburg area. To learn more about this organization, you can follow them on Facebook @tinyfingerstinytoesecc or their website, https://tinyfingerstinytoes.com.

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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