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Pride In Our Partners

Pride In Our Partners

Music In Your World teaches singing and movement to children under 5 years old, along with their parents, who are enrolled in Evanston School District 65’s Head Start, Pre-K, and Early Start programs. The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is very grateful to many community partners for helping provide the funding for Music In Your World over the past 15 years. These include Byline Bank, the Kiwanis Club of Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation, and North End Mothers Club.

For over 16 years, our wonderful music educator, Charles Taylor, has been bringing Music In Your World to more than 400 Head Start and Pre-K students. Last year, our classes extended to several parent evenings where parents and their children from Head Start and Pre-K came together to sing and move together. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the students have not been in class, but Mr. Taylor and the ESO have continued to bring music classes via Zoom to parents and children at home, with the aid of D65’s Parent Engagement specialist, Anna Cabey. Two years ago, the ESO was invited to bring Music In Your World over to the Family Center to reach children ages 3 and under and their parents. Again, there are no children currently in the Family Center but our music classes have continued with D65’s Early Start program.

The Early Start program is a home visiting program run by District 65’s Family Center for low-income and vulnerable families with children ranging in age from birth to 3 years old. The Family Center currently serves 31 students who attend in person (in a normal year), and it has conducted approximately 1,209 home visits to 80 families during the 2020 school year. The Center’s goal is to equip parents with the knowledge and resources needed to prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in their academic careers.

In addition to home visits, its services include group connections that help families build social connections with one another and focus on parent-child interaction, child screenings, and connections to community resources. The Evanston Symphony Orchestra collaborates with other supportive organizations, like the Evanston Public Library and Literacy Works, to help provide services for the Family Center. Specifically, the ESO brings weekly music classes to these families by way of teacher Matthew Perutz, who specializes in music instruction for very young children.

Just at the end of last year, we heard that the Family Center had earned Blue Ribbon Affiliate status from Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc. (PATNC), the international organization that developed the home visiting model used by the Center. This status makes the Family Center one of the top-performing home visiting affiliates within the PATNC international network, a coveted honor that the ESO’s classes helped the Family Center to achieve.

“To earn the Blue Ribbon Affiliate status, the program underwent a rigorous self-study and review process from the National Center,” said Xiomara Alfaro Mayen, District 65’s Early Start Program Supervisor. “The process confirms that we are meeting Parents as Teachers’ standards of fidelity and quality.”

In addition to the completion of the self-study and review process, affiliates must also meet or exceed at least 75 of PATNC’s 100 Quality Standards to attain the reputable endorsement. The Family Center’s Managing Director Angela Johnson said, “[District 65’s Family Center] gives 100% of their effort to supporting families, and it is great to have their work validated and recognized by Parents as Teachers National Center. We appreciate the Evanston Symphony Orchestra’s support of our program and services. Know that the Evanston Symphony Orchestra has played an important role in our program's success.

"Having high-quality community partners that offer high-quality services allows our home visitors to concentrate on supporting families’ needs; it also encourages families to tell other families about the program. Thank you and Matthew for your role in our success,” added Johnson.

We congratulate the Family Center on achieving this Blue Ribbon status. It is wonderful to know that we are doing our part in helping the Evanston community reach its goals of Every Child Ready for Kindergarten.

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Are you looking to buy a gift for someone at Amazon? Need to stock up on supplies from Amazon?

Amazon has a special program called Smile, where the company donates a small amount of your purchase to your designated charity. Once you select the ESO as your Smile recipient, just point your browser to each time you want to shop at Amazon and the Evanston Symphony will benefit. It won’t cost you a thing!

Thanks, and happy shopping.

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