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Art in Park family day successful addition

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 News from CSKT Teen Parent Assist Program

RONAN — Creating connections and supporting family engagement were at the core of the recent Art in the Park Family Day in Ronan. Co-hosted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Project LAUNCH, the Teen Parent Assist Program and the Early Foundations Home Visiting Program, it was a time for families and children to explore their artistic side in an environment that was safe and nurturing.

“It can be challenging for a parent to think of activities that will interest their children and connect them with something besides television or video games,” said Micheleanne Stasso, TPAF Program Manager.

Included as part of the Ronan Pioneer Days Program, the Art in the Park was free to all and allowed participants to get “hands-on” while expressing their individuality through various types of art. Different stations were set-up with all supplies provided by the hosts. Art activities identified for the event were chosen based on their accessibility and appropriateness for a wide age range of participants.

“Art is about expression,” staff member Mary Dumontier said. “How often are children able to express their vision with total acceptance?”

All of the programs that co-hosted the event are focused on helping parents find success and improving the quality of life for children across the reservation. They offer services such as home visiting in a concentrated effort that is designed to assist parents in building life skills and expanding their knowledge in order to help their children be healthier and more school ready.

“These parents are excited to learn ways to best meet their children’s developmental and health needs,” explained Stasso. “They really want to help their kids grow up in a good way.”

Participation in the home visiting program and the other services is optional and parents have to be willing to make a commitment to working with the staff if they choose to be enrolled. Home visiting is common in many other states across the country and has demonstrated outcomes showing participants have higher levels of achievement in a variety of areas including employment, education and health.

“Home visiting is not as familiar to this region of the country as in other places. But it is a valuable resource for parents and can benefit the entire community,” Stasso said.

The schedule of art activities also expanded the programming being provided as part of the Pioneer Days events and built upon the fact that community members were already going to be in the park for the day.

“It was a nice way to merge programs and support other community events,” Dumontier said.

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