We are very, very happy to announce that starting April 3, 2023, Michelle Howell will join the Collaboration team full time as our Family Engagement Partnership Coordinator! In this role, Michelle will oversee and guide all aspects of the Collaboration’s outreach and leadership activities involving parents and caregivers of children from birth to age five, working collectively with Families First | La Familia Primero and all our community family resource partners.
We feel very lucky to have Michelle at the helm of this important program area. She brings a deep understanding of local community partners and the needs of families from her work across the hall, with the Easterseals Partnering with Parents Home Visiting Program. In fact, this position feels like a natural extension of the work that she has already been doing to strengthen families. As Michelle has said, “it doesn’t matter how or where parents get what they need. It just matters that they are getting it.” With a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies, and a Masters Degree in Social Service Administration, this has been Michelle’s mission from the start.
For many families with young children in the Oak Park and River Forest communities, Michelle is already a familiar face through her work as Program Manager of the Easterseals Partnering with Parents Home Visiting Program. As a member of our Home Visiting Task Force, the Parenting Resource Program Committee, and Chair of the Health and Development Committee she is no stranger to the Collaboration for Early Childhood.
When the Collaboration began its contract for Home Visiting services with Easterseals in 2015, Michelle joined Easterseals to launch the Partnering with Parents program and manage the contract. Since that time, the Collaboration’s partnership with Easterseals has grown into something multifaceted, all parts of our shared work geared toward ensuring that there is “no wrong door” for parents to access information, support, and resources. In addition to Home Visiting, Easterseals now partners with us to provide Coordinated Intake services, and they manage the free Parenting Workshop Series, using the Chicago Parent Program curriculum available to all parents with young children in the community. Parents and caregivers can “knock on any door” and get connected to the workshops, programs and information that’s best for them.
Michelle as the Family Engagement Partnership Coordinator will build on the family engagement work that Jennifer Little began. In this reimagined role, Michelle will also be the point person for the family engagement programming occurring in partnership with Wonder Works Children’s Museum. This work was made possible by a grant from Birth to Five Illinois. Join us in celebrating Michelle, the work she’s done already, and the great work to come! Her Collaboration for Early Childhood email address is email@example.com.