The family that eats well together stays well together. The East Harlem Head Start program recently began a new partnership with fellow neighborhood home visiting service providers. The growing community of East Harlem has seen a large increase in very young children - birth to three years old. In response to this increase, many agencies have begun offering programs where teachers or home visitors go to each family's home to work with the parent and the baby or toddler.
Different agencies around East Harlem, such as Little Sisters of Assumption, University Settlement's Healthy Families, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, and Children’s Aid Early Head Start program, all connected by the same type of work, recently began a network to discuss possible collaborations and supports.
The first joint event took place on Friday, January 22 at the East Harlem Center. The Children's Aid Go!Healthy program ran a training on healthy meals for the whole family. The training was specific to the home visitors who worked with children birth to three years old. Some of the topics covered were 'Ease, Cost Effectiveness and Health Benefits of Homemade Baby Food,' 'Tips for Creating a Healthy Pantry,' and where to locate neighborhood resources such as food stamps and farmer's markets.
The home visitors that attended were then able to practice making a number of healthy recipes such as lentil soup, homemade applesauce, and banana-berry smoothies. The goal was to train the home visitors in these healthy recipes and then have them go out into the community to teach the families.