Casey Powerful Families Program

Successes of Casey Powerful Families Program

Five Baton Rouge Family Advocates Traveled to Arizona to Tout Successes of Casey Powerful Families Program. On November 2-3, 2006 Baton Rouge coordinators of the Casey Foundation’s Powerful Families Program traveled to Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, Arizona to a Powerful Families Partnership and Covening Forum. The Forum was designed to share learnings among national partners, representing 40 sites around the country, in order to increase program sustainability. 

The Forum was hosted by Casey Family Programs. Attendees pictured above are (left to right) Brenda Durham, Mental Health Coordinator, Catholic Community Services, Allan C. Golston/President, U. S. Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rose Doolittle, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren board member, Todd Hamilton, Deputy Director, Catholic Community Services, and Pat Robinson/Project Manager and Grandparent’s Advocate. Mr. Golston was the Guest Speaker at the Forum. Wanda Joseph, Administrative Coordinator (not pictured) also represented Baton Rouge. 

Powerful Families Advocacy Training Facilitators

Irdean LeDuff (left), is the mother of one child and grandmother of three. Her hobbies are working with crafts, and volunteering in the classroom at Eden Park Elementary, Banks Elementary, the Head Start Program, and the LPB Literacy Program. She holds membership with the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group at the EBRP Head Start Administrative Offices. Ms. LeDuff learned about the Casey Powerful Families Program through Mrs. Rose Doolittle, a board member of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center of Louisiana. 

She chose to become a co-facilitator for the program after receiving training because she “enjoyed the workshop, and felt that she could do a good job. When asked about the high points for her during the administration of the training and about her most memorable events with participants, she talks about the role play exercises when participants acted out different scenarios.

She also liked when the children that accompanied the participants interacted together. Ms. LeDuff was also excited about having the classes in the Scotlandville and Delmont Gardens Libraries because the students that did not have library cards were encouraged to get library cards and explore different uses of the library. She also remarked that parents and children were fed good and nutritious meals before each training session. 

Most of all, she says, “I felt I had accomplished something when participants were comfortable enough to express themselves.” She commented that the Casey Powerful Families Program helped to prepare “me, my family and my peers with a great deal of knowledge, and skills to assist displaced families.” 

Barbara Jackson (right) is the mother of six children, grandmother of 28, and great-grandmother of 5, with an additional 2 step-grands in the family. 

She is also the primary caregiver for her 83 year old mother. Her hobbies are singing, sewing, crafts (makes cards, purses, pillows, etc.) and loves designing flower arrangements. Ms. Jackson is a member of the St. Mark Baptist Church. 

She holds memberships in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group and Foster Grandparents Program at the Wonderland Head Start.

Ms. Jackson learned about the Casey Powerful Families Program through a local community volunteer support champion, Mrs. Rose Doolittle. She then chose to teach the powerful families program because she enjoyed helping people and fellow support group members. 

Ms. Jackson credits the support group members for helping her through a troubled time when her daughter could not raise her children, and Ms Jackson had to fill her daughter’s shoes. She said the monthly support group meetings were a welcomed change from the “washing, starching , ironing and cooking” chores that had become commonplace for her. She felt this was a good way to “give back some of the inspiration” the support group had given her. 

The high point of this training experience came for her when the group from the first workshop (August 26 – September 14) when participants began to “talk with a firm voice describing their situations with calm but enthusiastic tones.” As time progressed, they also began phoning her to thank her for her concerns and ask her opinion on personal matters. The trust developed was very emotional and inspirational to her, because she knew she was fulfilling a need. She thanks The Casey Foundation for developing a wonderful program.