I became involved in the Alabama HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters) several years ago. It is a super program where “parent-educators” visit homes where they work with parents who then work with their pre-schoolers. There are more than 30 weeks of lessons. All materials are provided with no charge. The parent-educator role plays with the parent as to just what the lesson for that week involves. Then the parent works with their child for the remainder of the week.
The beauty of HIPPY is that it brings school to the child, instead of the child going to school. Oft times this home visit discovers issues far beyond a coloring book. For example, I will never forget making a visit to an ancient mobile home in Clarke County where a handicapped mother lived with her two children. Stark or barren do not do justice to what I saw. And through the generosity of many good folks across Alabama this mother got much needed kitchen appliances, furniture and other necessities.
There are more than 25 HIPPY programs statewide serving about 2,500 children. If your community doesn’t have one, it should. If you need more information, drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The oldest and largest HIPPY effort in Alabama is in Montgomery County. Laura Collins directs this effort.
She recently shared the following email about her most recent graduation program.
Our graduation speaker this year was Tieka Wilkins, a 25 year-old HIPPY graduate. She was enrolled in our Gibbs Village Housing project program. in 2009, she graduated 4th in her class, at George Washington Carver High School, with an advanced Mu Alpha Theta Spanish Cord for completing three years of Spanish, and SGA cords. Tieka went on to Tuskegee University where she earned a BA degree in accounting and she was Who’s Who Among American College Students. She recently received a Masters in Accounting from Alabama State Univertisy. She is currently serving in the U.S. Army as 1st Lieutenant. She also works with the IRS as a Business Account Auditor.
Tieke spoke to the HIPPY parents about raising children with goals and never giving up. She went on to say that it does not matter where you come from one can still reach heights and goals. She spoke of her HIPPY teacher, Sylvia Belser, and the joy she brought to their home. She said that her mother gave birth to her when she was in her 40’s and that she knew that Ms. Sylvia was a welcome relief to her mother. HIPPY was the beginning of her education journey.
Tieke told the audience how she, a single female, purchased her first car and is now purchasing a home. We at Montgomery HIPPY are so proud of Tieka Wilkins who has proven that there are no limits and HIPPY works!!
We save the world one life at a time. Tieka Wilkins is a shining example of this.