Major Grant and Full-time Director for Every Child Shines Initiative in East Boston

A collaborative effort to get every child ready for Kindergarten joyful and thriving

The Every Child Shines initiative has been awarded a grant from the Commonwealth Children’s Fund for a three-year partnership to support this community vision of ensuring all children in East Boston enter Kindergarten thriving, joyful, and ready to learn.  Current estimates are that 40-50% of children in the community enter Kindergarten ready to learn—and this readiness gap has significant lifelong consequences.

The Commonwealth Children’s Fund grant is funding our director for this initiative, and investments in parent leadership, strengthening and simplifying parent supports.

Our primary focus is activating broad collaboration among a cross-sector collaborative to 1) promote community-wide adoption of The Basics—five simple practices to ensure all children are developmentally on track and thriving; and 2) develop a multi-agency shared referral and data management system to more seamlessly and easily connect parents and children with programming, resources and supports to ensure children thrive.

We are thrilled to announce the hiring of our new Director, Rosanna M. Batista. Rosie’s prior work includes working for the state as a quality assurance specialist managing a large prevention program.  Rosie brings her analytical, child development and contract management skills to lead the implementation of Every Child Shines in East Boston. Rosie has over twenty years’ experience in health related community work and has worked for hospitals and nonprofits in greater Boston.   Rosie worked in Uganda, East Africa and domestically with refugees and immigrants.  She is excited to collaborate with community partners and to support families in the success of their children’s educational aspirations.

The Commonwealth Children’s Fund grant already has enabled the investment in Parent Champions highlighted in a previous article.  Parent leadership powers this work, as we know parents are the most effective messengers to other parents—and they must lead in identifying shared priorities.  Parents also developed the name of the initiative: Every Child Shines (We previously referred to this initiative as Every Child Ready, while we were waiting to have parents lead in development of a name).  This grant also is enabling modest stipends to steering committee member agencies, in recognition of their important work. 

Says Director Rosie Batista “every child should have a caregiver that unconditionally loves and nurtures their full potential for success in life. Our goals in the initiative are to focus on the whole child by empowering caregivers to nurture their children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills.  The socioecological saturation of the five Basics principles in East Boston ensures all community members reinforce positive messages as caregivers navigate the various community environments.  I am excited that the intervention is parent-centered, community-based and culturally humble.“ 

Every Child Shines is a communitywide multisector initiative.  The East Boston Social Centers serves as the lead agency for this initiative.  Executive Director Justin Pasquariello says, “we cannot thank the Commonwealth Children’s Fund enough for this catalytic investment.  This is a huge step toward making this vision a reality—and developing a replicable model to help all children in a community thrive.  We are so very grateful for the deep collaboration of Boston Public Schools, the Basics, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Families First Parenting Partners, and consultant Don Hawley; for a group of committed anchor organizations, including the East Boston YMCA, the East Boston Neighborhood Branch Library, Central Assembly of God, North Suffolk Mental Health, and Neighborhood Villages; and for the partnership of a much larger cross-sector group including members of the East Boston Family Engagement Network in this very collaborative neighborhood.”

Says Commonwealth Children’s Fund’s, “The Commonwealth Children’s Fund is delighted to support the incredible work of East Boston’s Every Child Shines initiative.  Families need coordinated systems to help them navigate the services their youngest children need to ensure they get the best possible start in life.  This initiative does just that, bringing together partners from across East Boston in service of its youngest residents.”

East Boston Social Centers, Inc. is a 501 (C) (9) multi-service agency, founded in 1918, serving culturally diverse families and individuals of all ages in East Boston and throughout Greater Boston.  The programs offered by the Social Centers are designed to meet people’s educational, social, and recreational needs and to build community and strengthen families.  The Social Centers seek to create a welcoming and supportive environment, characterized by a spirit of goodwill and caring, in which members of our community are empowered to lead productive and fulfilling lives.  “When All Give, All Gain”

If you would like for information on Every Child Shines, please contact Rosie M. Batista at [email protected]

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