By Carol Washington, Home Base Director
Mary Crane Home Visitors serve clients in the entire city of Chicago. Some neighborhoods where we have a higher volume of clients are Belmont Cragin, Avondale, Englewood, West Englewood, Auburn Gresham, East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Austin, and Chicago Lawn. Our Visitors recruit daily to expand Mary Crane’s reach into more neighborhoods. The Home Base program provides new strollers with infant car seats to parents with newborns, breast pumps, bottles, diapers, and wipes along with other necessary items those new moms and their babies may need. Our program is here to encourage families to embrace being their children’s first and most important teacher. In addition, we educate them on child development and the environment. Our visitors plan developmentally appropriate activities for the family and model/guide the parents on how to implement them in the home.
We understand that that some of our families face challenges with meeting their basic needs. Therefore, we have formed partnerships with other organizations that help us support our families. Two key partnerships are with Cradles to Crayons and Chicago Furniture Bank. The Chicago Furniture Bank gives our clients the opportunity to purchase three rooms of furniture for their homes for a fee ranging from $50- $200. Our partnership with Cradles to Crayons provides hygiene products for the entire family, as well as coats, boots, clothing, and more.
The Home Base program host two group gatherings each month that we call “socializations.” Some socializations are workshops for parents. They focus on topics that are relevant to our families, and visitors and parents plan together to determine topics. In October our Mental Health consultant led a workshop on preventing child abuse and neglect. December’s parent workshop was about stress management. Another recent socialization focused on nutrition. We cooked with some of the families and shared information about preparing nutritional meals for choosy and busy toddlers. I love seeing the parents interacting and sharing with one another during these times. I see the joy and satisfaction on the faces of the Home Visitors. I believe that it encourages us to stay invested in the program and keep providing the best service to our families.