September 14, 2021
We know that children are the future of our communities, which is why we’re always looking for ways to promote wellness programs for our young residents. Most recently, we hosted a Parent Lounge event for our Beacon Ridge community. Our purpose was to provide school supplies and resources and to gather community input about what is needed to make Beacon Ridge a strong community for families.
Since April 2021, with funding support of the John Rex Endowment, The Kaleidoscope Project, has been meeting with DHIC’s Resident Services team and Resident Ambassadors of Beacon Ridge. Centering around racial equity, they are discussing ideas that will drive the resident leaders’ decisions about investments to support the social and emotional health of the children that live at Beacon Ridge.
Through the course of these meetings, the Resident Ambassadors have highlighted four main categories of projects that they believe will be the most beneficial to the residents:
- Community art
- Family activities
- Promoting reading
- Parent support
These categories were used to develop the Parent Lounge, and to bring their ideas to life. A Beacon Ridge teen also helped with the preparation by creating the artwork featured on flyers and posters leading up to the event.
The Parent Lounge kicked off with a school supply giveaway sponsored by Southeast Raleigh Promise where thanks to our friends at United Healthcare, 100 backpacks were provided for the elementary students living at Beacon Ridge.
After picking up school supplies and stopping by the event’s delicious Italian ice truck, also provided by United Healthcare, parents made their way around different stations set up by the resident ambassadors for more information about resources available to parents within the community.
- The self-care station featured all kinds of resources for parents on prioritizing self-care, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and encouraged them to take home a free journal for their self-care journeys.
- The reading promotion station had resources and tips for parents for teaching their children to love reading. This station included an amazing giveaway of hundreds of books written by Black authors and featuring Black characters.
- The parent resource station hosted resident ambassadors sharing other resources with parents, like helpful rental and utility assistance, so residents know where to turn in times of need.
- The feedback station provided a simple, visual way for resident parents to give feedback on their priorities to make Beacon Ridge a healthy and thriving community for youth and all family members.
Sprinkled throughout the stations were tables for the children to color with and get to know teachers and the principal of their school, Southeast Raleigh Elementary School, just days before the new school year began.
Residents had the opportunity to meet and connect with each other in new ways, many for the first time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, one resident who works at the local YMCA was out and about talking to other residents about a new special rate that Southeast Raleigh YMCA offers just for the Beacon Ridge community members. Another resident, who happened to be one of the resident ambassadors, works at Southeast Raleigh Elementary School, which her children also attend, and saw her community come full circle as she mingled with fellow parents at Beacon Ridge.
Looking back at the feedback station art boards at the end of the event, the consensus overwhelmingly highlighted that the most important focus for Beacon Ridge parents is to create a reading culture for the youth in their community.
One parent reflected on the impact of the book giveaway by telling LaTonya Mckoy, Manager of Resident Services, how excited her children were to have gotten so many books with characters that they felt they could relate to. “Having all of these books written by Black authors and featuring Black characters, my kids couldn’t wait to sit down with me and read that night.”
We’re listening to this feedback and as an organization, we’re continuing to partner with Southeast Raleigh Elementary School to learn more from teachers about how to incentivize children to practice and learn to love reading. We’re also working with our residents to set up libraries of books throughout Beacon Ridge to help encourage children to discover the joy of reading.
This special event, and the resident ambassadors behind it, proved more than ever that when a community comes together for the greater good of its members, amazing things can happen.
We’d like to thank our partners for this event, The Kaleidoscope Project, Southeast Raleigh Promise, Southeast Raleigh Elementary School, and United Healthcare. We’d also like to recognize the hard work of the Beacon Ridge resident ambassadors and the DHIC Resident Services team for helping to make the Parent Lounge possible.