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WEF finances program for women, children facilitated by Project RISE

7/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Project RISE
AKRON — Debra Manteghi, program manager of Project RISE, developed the RISE-ing Families: Reaching New Heights Program at the Akron’s Battered Women’s Shelter.

The program served the mothers and children in residence at the shelter. Every other Monday, Bridgette Hopson, of Mothers Assisting Mothers Inc., facilitated a life skills and parenting program known as Woman to Woman for the mothers. While Hopson worked with the mothers, Rachel Breece, a child and family development specialist from Project RISE, provided an arts and literacy program for their children.

The Woman to Woman program focused on discussion, creativity and empowerment. Topics covered included self-esteem building, stress management, activities to do with your children, nutrition facts, meditation techniques, career and employment goals and safety tips for women.

“The goal of the program is to empower the participants with valuable knowledge and skills,” said Hopson. “The women benefited by learning various positive and healthy ways to manage their lives better.”

Since August of 2012, approximately 30 women have been served through the Woman to Woman Program.

The arts and literacy program, known as Art for Everyone, was open to children ages 2-16 in residence at the shelter. The program combined arts and crafts activities with an educational component.

“I pick a theme for each session and provide background information, fun facts, at least one art project and usually a word search or game that ties in, as well,” said Breece. “Practicing using glue and scissors correctly, sharing, color recognition and stringing beads are important for students of all ages. It builds their community skills, fine motor skills and their confidence, all of which support academic achievement and school-readiness skills.”

At times throughout the program, mothers and children came together to complete a craft activity collectively. The mothers were given ideas on how to replicate similar “family bonding” projects with their children on their own. Shown above right are some of  the art projects completed by children.

Project RISE was able to facilitate the RISE-ing Families program from August of 2012 to June of 2013 thanks to a grant from the Women’s Endowment Fund. A special reception was held in June to showcase and celebrate the project.

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