PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Talks, an innovative program designed to close the “word gap” and improve the language development of the city’s youngest residents, today announced that it has enrolled its 500th family.
“The City of Providence is committed in ensuring that all children arrive on the first day of kindergarten prepared to succeed,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “My administration’s expansion of Providence Talks has been possible thanks to the dedicated work of Executive Director Courtney Hawkins, the Providence Talks team, and the continued support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.”
Families enrolled in Providence Talks receive 13 in-home coaching visits over an 8 month period that support early childhood development through increased parent-child interaction.
“Fundamental to Providence Talks is the belief that all parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. We believe that our investment in parents across Providence will result in the future success of generations of children”, said Providence Talks Executive Director, Courtney Hawkins.
Providence Talks parent, Mercy Morales, mother of 8 month old Samuel said, “I believe the program has really helped me as a parent to develop different skills to teach my child. I love the enthusiasm that Ashley (her Providence Talks home visitor) has shown my child and I appreciate the time and effort this program gives to children at such an early age.”
Providence Talks completed a pilot of its program in June 2015 and found that participating parents increased the number of words spoken at home by an average of nearly 10%. For families who demonstrated the greatest need, that increase was even larger, increasing the works spoken by 50%. Providence Talks aims to enroll 2,500 families by December 2017.
Providence Talks was developed during Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2013 Mayors Challenge. The Mayors Challenge is an ideas competition that encourages cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life -and that have the potential to spread to other cities. The City of Providence was the grand prize winner of the challenge and received $5 million to implement the initiative.
About Providence Talks:
Providence Talks helps parents talk more to their children at the time when language development is most critical, according to brain development science. Using new technology from the LENA Research Foundation, Providence Talks is able to track the number of words that children are hearing and the amount of parent-child interactions that are taking place in the home. For more information about Providence Talks visit www.providencetalks.org and to sign-up call 1-844-401-TALK.