Hope Springs Eternal
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is a warm, late-July afternoon and 12 mothers, more than 25 children
and several Hope Street staffers are waiting patiently on Figueroa
Street for the DASH Downtown shuttle to take them to the California
Science Center at Exposition Park. It's field-trip day at Hope Street,
a monthly outing for those in Even Start, and after the museum the
group will be off to a local public library.
our field trips involve free events and using public transportation,"
explains Segovia. "The idea, then, is that this is something families
can do independently of the program."
self-sufficiency is one of the primary goals of Hope Street. From
the moment families are accepted to the center, they make clear-cut
goals to work toward that are identified in a family-partnership
agreement, a contract of sorts, with the home visitor.
is like that old saying about teaching a man to fish and you feed
him for a lifetime," says Segovia. "We're always teaching people
how to fish. We want families to be able to find their own ways
of developing and strengthening themselves."
fact, self-sufficiency is exactly what Hope Street has attained.
Originally UCLA wrote the grants funding Hope Street and subcontracted
California Hospital staff to implement the program; that shifted
in 1998 and the hospital now writes the grants and subcontracts
for UCLA staff, including Halfon, who is faculty adviser to Hope
Street, and Kropenske.
it's fitting that the university helps to obtain resources for the
community and then, once those have been established, comes back
and continues to assist in an evaluative, development role while
allowing the program to take root and develop in the community with
community leadership and community direction," says Kropenske.
building - another of Hope Street's missions - then becomes possible
once families become self-sufficient and, thus, able to get involved
in, contribute to and help shape their communities.
way is through a policy council comprised of elected parent and
community representatives that helps to make decisions, approve
budgets and policies, hire staff and plan programs. The Hope Street
Youth Center, for example, came about because the council noted
a need for more services for school-age kids. "So that's really
how our youth center was developed, because parents really asked
for that as a service," explains Kropenske, a public-health nurse
who, in her 17 years at UCLA, has developed several innovative service
programs that include the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit follow-up
clinic at UCLA and Olive View hospitals and the Suspected Child
Abuse and Neglect home-visitation program. "The ownership of this
project really belongs to the community."
Kropenske, Halfon says, "She is a modern-day Jane Addams and Hope
Street is the Hull House for the 21st century.") "Parents have gotten
involved. They've set goals together. They've envisioned the difference
that can happen in this community," says Cecilia Samartín '83, mental-health
coordinator at Hope Street. "Once they began investing themselves
in this way, in this center, that began to expand their community
involvement. Parents have been involved in community gardens and
clean-up efforts throughout the community, and housing efforts and
way Hope Street fosters community building is through a state-funded
child-care network, which provides assistance to community members
interested in running day-care centers from their homes. By providing
support, training, workshops, toys, books and other materials, Hope
Street helps entrepreneurial-minded community members start their
own businesses, while also giving Hope Street working parents an
alternative source of subsidized day care to the Child Development
Center, which has a wait list of up to a year.
affording these women the ability to stay in the community, to build
businesses, to develop professionally and really to take a leadership
role," says Sherk, who coordinates the service.
success of the Hope Street Center is born out by some hard statistics.
For example, the rate of employment among participating families
has leaped from 45 percent to more than 90 percent, says Melinda
Beswick, president of California Hospital Medical Center.
Street," she says, "is the lynchpin of many of the community-benefit
programs that we host at this hospital. Access to services, be it
early-childhood education, housing or job training, is fragmented
and difficult to negotiate for any family, but Hope Street provides
a focal point that enables people to take advantage of what's available
and get ahead."