Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Home Visits Crucial in Neighborhood Classes

Over and over cluster agencies report that personal connections with parents are essential in making neighborhood children’s classes and junior youth groups sustainable, and that home visits are key to establishing those connections. This story from the Beaverton, OR (A) cluster serves as one example. Notable in the account is the strategy of doing home visits to alert residents to a class starting, but then re-visiting interested households on the appointed day to walk children to class. Not only is this welcoming, but it helps to remind those families that might have otherwise not attended.

“A team of individuals invited children and junior youth by visiting the homes at a manufactured home park where a Bahá’í resides. With the help of a child who knows the Bahá’í resident, other children and junior youth were invited to attend a neighborhood children’s class and junior youth group. One week later, the team returned to the homes and—like the Pied Piper—had a trail of youth and children following behind as we went house to house inviting them.

The youth session was held on a grassy, open area behind The Bahá’ís home. All of the children and junior youth who attended the first session were non Baha’is. The entire group played a name game and then divided up into two groups—children and junior youth. The children worked on one of the lessons from Ruhi 3; the junior youth got acquainted and did a science project. The second session contained some of the same children and youth from the first session, plus some new ones, as well as some Bahá’í children that came with a second children’s class teacher. The non Bahá’í children and youth are from Latino families. The parents do not speak fluent English but their children do. There is a great potential in this neighborhood. The challenge will be to work with the parents to get commitment and regularity of attendance from the youth and children. This contact with the parents is planned for the next session this Friday.”

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