This report describes the results of an in-depth study based on visits to ten Jewish communities around the country that have developed successful outreach programs for first-time parents and parents with young children. The report focuses on how these communities find parents who are not connected to the community, and describes the programs they offer to help these parents make connections.
Over one hundred professionals in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Milwaukee, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Wash ington, DC were interviewed to obtain detailed information about each community’s programs, the parents who participated, the program staff and volunteers, and the community infrastructure that supported these efforts. Focus groups were also conducted with parents and volunteers.
Among the findings reported:
- New parents are looking for support and connections; unengaged parents are receptive to approaches by the community.
- Successful programs are those that assist participants to develop peer relationships.
- Well designed programs are often successful in attracting unengaged parents and helping them make connections with the community, but most such programs are underdeveloped and thus less successful.
- Successful programs promote warm connections between parents and Jewish community professionals.
- Well-designed and well-coordinated programming for parents with young children has the potential to markedly strengthen ties of Jewish parents to the organized Jewish community.
Rosen and Donald Wertleib, also discussed the results of the study in the January, 2008 issue of Zero to Three Journal in the framework of the faith community's provision of child care instruction blended with the transmission of values and behaviors.
In the Autumn, 2006 issue of CONTACT The Journal of Jewish Life Networks of the Steinhardt Foundation, Rosen provided advice to Jewish communities and organizations on how to successfully implement outreach programs for unengaged parents, based on his extensive research in the field.
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