PAYETTE, Idaho – An organization committed to strengthening families in rural Idaho has come through last year doing what it does best, connecting teachers and parents. Western Idaho Community Action Partnership, or WICAP, now needs our support.
The nonprofit is desperately short of essential baby items for its attendees, and you have an opportunity to help out at the Idaho News 6 Community Baby Shower.
It’s hard to believe Felicia Johnson’s son Zamian couldn’t speak until he was three. Felicia says the love of the WICAP program saved her son after he was diagnosed with autism.
Zamian started free preschool and speech therapy sessions at WICAP, and within three months of entering class he said his first sentence: “Mom, I want to go to school.”
Zamian’s wish comes true, the 5-year-old graduated from the Payette Head Start program and is now heading to kindergarten. This kind of success is normal for WICAP staff, who believe in breaking cycles through mental health education and awareness.
âThese families are already in low income and we are trying to give them a hand, not a hand. They are counting on this program, every day they are counting on us to help them out of the poverty in which they find themselves. “said Barbara Cabrera, a WICAP teacher.
“They are not judgmental. They are understanding rather than judgmental and that makes things so much easier,” said Amber Brown, a parent of WICAP. âWhen people judge you, it makes you want to curl up in your shell. But when they understand, or even if they don’t understand, they will try to seek out information to help you find out. They don’t give up. . you. “
Amber and Adam are one of 30 families who receive home visits where teachers work individually to motivate and equip parents.
âWhatever our needs, they help me. Whatever I had questions about, they would help me find the answers, âAmber said. “And it wasn’t like doing it for me. They let me do it on my own, they just put me on the right track. It was really what I needed.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, WICAP did not stop. Teachers sent educational materials and baby essentials to participants’ homes every week. When many couldn’t get online in the rural community, WICAP donated Chromebooks so families could participate in the recordings and group activities on Zoom.
âI’m always grateful that we can have the Zoom meetings because that’s what got me through this,â said Cassidy Cortez, a parent from WICAP.
With the resumption of in-person sessions, parents say they realize more than ever how much they need each other.
âIt’s the sense of community and having people there for you and it’s not just for the kids, it’s up to parents to help us all grow up,â said Rebeckah Ames, another parent. of WICAP.
This year, you can buy or drop off new baby supplies at any Albertsons store in Treasure Valley on June 9. But you don’t have to wait until then, you can click here and donate now. You can also send the word BABY by SMS to 345345.
Albertsons will match the first $ 15,000 we raise, so join us in person on June 9 or online now to help the younger members of our community.