Young Foundation Supports Learning in Child and Family Development
Maria Villanueva, a graduate student in human development and early childhood disorders, talks with a parent at the Center for Children and Families.
Alma Cardenas has attended Juega Conmigo with her 2-year-old daughter since the toddler was just 8 months old.
“She’s learned how to play with other kids, to share and to be more social,” Cardenas said. “At home she’s doing much better, and she’s learning much faster than my other kids who haven’t experienced Juega Conmigo.”
At Juega Conmigo (Play with Me), bilingual facilitators lead parent-child play/learning sessions in English and Spanish for children up to 3 years old. The free, weekly sessions are available in the Bachman Lake, Vickery Meadow, East Plano and Pleasant Grove areas of North Texas.
The outreach program is among the efforts of the UT Dallas Center for Children and Families that support local parents and at-risk infants and toddlers through coaching, development screenings, feedback and service referrals. In 2014, the center assisted more than 1,600 children, parents, other service providers and students.
Parents also say they gain valuable insights for nourishing their relationships with their children.
“Through this program, I’ve learned that it is very important to share our time with our kids,” parent Nelly Sanchez said. “In the past, I didn’t care as much about their feelings. Now, I consider their feelings and try to understand them better.”
“The George and Fay Young Foundation has created a true partnership with the center by sharing not only resources but also its ideas and values to optimize the healthy development of children and their families.”
The program is supported in part by gifts from the George and Fay Young Foundation. George Young’s early life and educational experiences inform and guide the organization’s support of early childhood, primary and secondary education. Young was educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Arkansas. After college, he moved to Dallas, where he owned and operated several large cemeteries, including Restland Funeral Home, starting in the 1930s. The foundation’s recent $75,000 gift will support Juega Conmigo and the center’s developmental screening program.
“The George and Fay Young Foundation has created a true partnership with the center by sharing not only resources but also its ideas and values to optimize the healthy development of children and their families,” said Dr. Margaret Tresch Owen, director of the center and Robinson Family Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “I greatly value our relationship with the foundation and the many ways it has encouraged and supported the center’s outreach to the community.”
The George and Fay Young Foundation's support of the Center for Children and Families benefits not only children and parents but also UT Dallas students who gain experience by volunteering with the outreach programs. They receive training in child development, healthy parent-child relationships, developmental psychology research, and program development through their field work in association with the center.
“We appreciate the community-based approach of the center and that the center offers learning opportunities across the continuum — from graduate students, to teachers, to practitioners, to community members,” said Christopher Shaw, executive vice president of the George and Fay Young Foundation.
Learn more about the center here.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].