Success By 6 News

Success By 6

Success By 6 and Family Friendly Workplace Featured at Statewide United Way Conference

Mary Sue Ash speaking at conference

United Way St. Croix Valley Success By 6 Coordinator Mary Sue Ash and Success By 6 Engagement Specialist Lara Otsuka were asked to present as part of the Community Impact segment of the United Ways of Minnesota Statewide Conference on June 16. During the segment, different counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin shared their ideas for making positive change in their communities, and Ash and Otsuka spoke about UWSCV's Success By 6 and Family Friendly Workplace initiatives.

Success By 6

Ash, who has been coordinating SB6 since its inception in 2004 and is also Chair of the St. Croix County Early Childhood Interagency Council, gave an overview of the mission and vision of SB6 and some of the programs it supports in the St. Croix Valley--parent educator visits in-hospital after delivery, parent-child education and support classes, home visits by a parent educator, quality childcare and developmental screenings.

"There is a window of opportunity in the first few years of life," explained Ash. "Beliefs and patterns of behavior shaped in our early years carry forward throughout our lifetime," she continued.

Family Friendly Workplace

Otsuka then spoke about the FFW certification program as a way to create sustainable funding for the SB6 program as well as to create a better working environment for families. Certification fees paid by companies who qualify as family-friendly directly support SB6 and the early childhood programs it supports in Western Wisconsin. Some of the categories of family-friendly policies are Health Care Coverage, Childcare Cost Support, Maternity/Paternity Leave and Financial Support of Success By 6. There are three levels of certification: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

"The reason we have the three levels is that we want this program to be accessible to businesses of all sizes," said Otsuka. "Even very small organizations can adopt practices that benefit families and the community."

For More Information

For more information on Success By 6 or Family Friendly Workplace, or to learn how your business can become certified, contact Otsuka at 715-377-0203 ext. 107 or lotsuka@unitedwaystcroix.org. You may also visit the Success By 6 and Family Friendly Workplace websites.

Pictured: Mary Sue Ash speaking at the United Ways of MN Conference.

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Success By 6 Feature in River Falls Journal

Success By 6 was featured in the River Falls Journal in February. Click here to view the article scan.

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Success By 6 Launches Family Friendly Workplace Program

Family Friendly WorkplaceThe Family Friendly Workplace certification is an initiative by United Way St. Croix Valley’s Success By 6 to connect the business community and families. This trademark-registered program gives businesses the opportunity to earn the Family Friendly Workplace certification for workplace practices that support families and provide financial support to early childhood education programs.

FFW Certified Organizations will increase educational and service delivery funding through certification fees. This and educational aspects connected with certification will lead to:

  • Enhanced family friendly workplaces
  • Heightened awareness of importance of early childhood and existing programs and services and increased family participation
  • Enhanced workplace recruitment and retention of employees

Businesses will earn points for family-friendly practices to be certified as a Family Friendly Workplace. Certification will be at bronze, silver and gold levels. A few examples include: providing time off for child-related activities, offering tax saving options for childcare expenses and providing breastfeeding employees a private location for breastfeeding/expressing milk.

Businesses earning a certification will receive a plaque to acknowledge their certification, which will raise community awareness about the need to support families and attract and retain workers.

To learn more about the Family Friendly Workplace Certification program visit http://familyfriendlyworkplace.org or contact Lara Otsuka at lotsuka@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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Success By 6 Hiring Project Engagement Specialist

United Way St. Croix Valley is hiring a Project Engagement Specialist for its Success By 6 initiative. The Engagement Specialist works in cooperation with Success By 6 Partnership members to ensure that children in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties enter school ready to succeed. The Specialist will engage and educate business leaders about the importance of the early years and motivate them to support Success By 6 by becoming certified as a Family Friendly Workplace™. This is a new position, so the Specialist must be highly organized, self-motivated, and have strong relationship management skills. Click here for the complete job description. To apply, please email resume to Mary Sue Ash at msash@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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Success By 6 Receives Support from OEM Fabricators

OEMUnited Way St. Croix Valley’s early childhood initiative Success By 6 has received a $60,000 donation from the Flowers Family Foundation, Inc. OEM Fabricators, Inc., the recipient of the 2015 Wisconsin Business Achievement Award, received the donation as part of its award and selected Success By 6 as the recipient. The donation was to go to a Wisconsin-based nonprofit of the winner’s choosing.

The Wisconsin Business Achievement Award was presented to S. Mark Tyler, OEM President, by the Flowers Family Foundation, Inc. at the State of Wisconsin Business Event in Madison. The award honors the outstanding economic and philanthropic contributions of individuals or entities engaged in free enterprise.

In nominating OEM for the Wisconsin Business Achievement Award, Success By 6 Coordinator Mary Sue Ash described OEM’s innovative leadership and integrative approach which led to the company championing Success By 6’s Family Friendly Workplace Certification program--a bold initiative that engages the business community to institutionalize support for early childhood development. Success By 6 will use the award to further develop the Family Friendly Workplace Certification program.

OEM is a contract manufacturer providing advanced steel fabrication services for original equipment manufacturers. S. Mark Tyler founded OEM in 1986 in Woodville, Wis. Today, Tyler remains president of the company, operating locations in Woodville, Neillsville, Baldwin and Phillips.

To learn more about the Family Friendly Workplace Certification program visit http://familyfriendlyworkplace.org or contact Ash at msash@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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Success By 6 Project Provides New Parents with Board Books

Success By 6 board books

Board books will be given to families who meet with Family Resource Center parent educators at Success By 6 partner hospitals. The project was organized by the Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley and supported by United Way St. Croix Valley and the St. Croix Valley Foundation.

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Family Resource Center Earns National Recognition with Losos Prize for Innovation

FRCSCV accepting award

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley has been recognized by Parents as Teachers as a recipient of the 2014 Losos Prize. The national award acknowledges excellence and innovation in services to young children and their families, delivered through affiliates of the local Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley (FRCSCV) in Baldwin, Wisconsin, received the Losos Prize for Innovation. Catholic Family & Child Services in Yakima, Washington, received the Losos Prize for Excellence.

The winners were announced at the Parents as Teachers national conference, October 10 in St. Louis, Missouri. PAT is an international nonprofit based in St. Louis, Missouri, that advances high-quality home visiting services and parent engagement strategies for families with young children. Each winning affiliate received a $5,000 cash award to support activities that further their work. “We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Executive Director Patty Draxler. “I want to acknowledge our dedicated board, staff and community partners for their part in developing a strong network of support for children and families. We are thrilled to be looked to as a model for innovation based on our strategic partnerships and financial sustainability.”

Read the full press release.

Pictured above: Patty Draxler receives the Losos Prize for Innovation from Parents as Teachers CEO Scott Hippert and COO Cheryle Dyle-Palmer at the PAT National Conference in St. Louis (Photo credit: Parents as Teachers).

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Play & Learn in the Parks Summer Programming a Success

Summer Play & Learn in the Parks saw record high participation this year, with 136 individuals participating in three parent-child groups. The all-outdoor programming offered through Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley continues to grow in popularity; many families stated that they appreciate the chance to play outside with their children while exploring area natural resources. “We enjoy circle time and the nature walks to see what we can discover,” said Juanita Dietmeier of Luck, who attended in Amery with Mireya, age 3. Clare Weber of River Falls said she liked that Holden, 2 ½, “gets to socialize with other kids his age and learn about sharing. He likes exploring the park and he likes to get up and move, especially during circle time when he can dance.”

Early in the summer, families planted bean seeds, lettuce and radishes, with supplies provided through a grant from the St. Croix Valley Master Gardener Association. Additional themes included learning about birds and bugs, family yoga, trees and leaves, and doing potato prints.

Read the full press release.

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Success By 6 Launches Pinterest Site

The Western Wisconsin Success By 6 initiative is taking a step into the online world by launching a Pinterest site, a popular online social media website. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are female and half of all Pinterest users have children, while nearly half of all Pinterest users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Therefore, when choosing a social media platform to use to reach out to young parents, Pinterest was a natural choice for the Success By 6 team.

“Our goal is to inform and educate parents by speaking to them in their own language and meeting them where they are already congregating online,” said United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director John Coughlin. “We are confident that a Pinterest site will enable us to move forward in achieving this goal.”

The Pinterest website describes the social media site as, “...a tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you.” Users create “boards” to categorize their “pins,” which are typically colorful photos or graphics that link to other websites. Popular pins are recipes, fitness tips and crafts, many of which are “repinned” to users’ boards hundreds and even thousands of times. Success By 6 hopes to capitalize on this activity by launching its own site, which will feature boards on parenting, early literacy, communication and more. Each Success By 6 board will be monitored by a professional in that topic and will be updated frequently.

“We are going to reach out to early childhood teachers and other professionals to begin to promote our site, but we are confident the quality of content will attract and engage the parents already using Pinterest,” said Success By 6 Consultant Mary Sue Ash. “We hope our site will become a destination for St. Croix Valley parents seeking information and advice.”

For more information contact John Coughlin at 715-377-0203 ext. 102 or coughlin@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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