Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Agape Children’s Museum
Address: 613 W. 37th Street
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: Public Charity
Ranking-title: Vaughn Pitts, M.Ed – Founder and CEO
First-name: Vaughn Pitts
Title: Founder and CEO
Textarea-499: The Grant will address the need to give birthday parties to children that are homeless or living in transitional housing monthly for a 2 year period.
How-many-years: 2 years
How-many-individuals: 100 Children and Families over a two year period
What-is-project: A staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. Child homelessness increases in every state as well as the District of Columbia. Children are homeless in every city, county, and state—every part of our country. In Long Beach nearly 200 children a year are sheltered or even possibly unsheltered. Major causes of homelessness for children in the U.S. include: (1) the nation’s high poverty rate; (2) lack of affordable housing across the nation; (3) continuing impacts of the Great Recession; (4) racial disparities; (5) the challenges of single parenting; and (6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.
The impact of homelessness on children, especially young children, is devastating and may lead to changes in brain architecture that can interfere with learning, emotional selfregulation, cognitive skills, and social relationships. The unrelenting stress experienced by the parents, most of whom are women parenting alone, may contribute to residential instability, unemployment, ineffective parenting, and poor health.
The Birthday project addresses the issue of the lack of non-essential services for low-income and homeless youth to be able to celebrate their birthdays. By providing a birthday Celebration for this most vulnerable population, we will make birthdays a fun and memorable event for our critical Long Beach Community youth that are homeless or in transitional housing.
The mission of the Project is to give every homeless child’s birthday a celebration compliments of the Museum’s Mascot. “Hearty Marty” regardless of the financial situation with the goal of making all children feel celebrated, valued and cared for.
How-will-you-succeed: The Birthday Project will make a difference in our community by making people more aware of the needs of low-income & homeless children and their families in our community and of the services that are and are not available to them. The project will be measured by using a program effectiveness study for school behavior –This assessment data will gauge behaviors due to impact of the Birthday project experience. Many people in our community are unaware of the impact from youth that do not have access to items needed to have a birthday celebration because it was just something that they’d never thought about, or due to the lack of the issue being publicized more. By spreading awareness though the local news, Facebook and social media, we will helped to change the perception of the urgency of working with homeless families and that all children deserve the opportunity to celebrate their special day. To carry on and continue the project we will partner with local and county social service agencies to help with birthday references as well as working with Community and Faith–Based Community Organizations in continuing this vital project.
Who-are-you: Agape Children’s Museum, the cities only and Award winning Children’s Museum is committed to providing health, arts and literacy resources as well as educational opportunities to Long Beach and surrounding South bay area Public and Private schools, Libraries and Communities. Since our inception in 2011 and through our school, community, and museum without walls programming, Agape has impacted the lives of thousands of children and their families with hands-on art, literacy and health learning experiences.
Every fall the Museum hosts its Annual Family Health Festival connecting individuals and families with organizations and opportunities that offer ways to support and nurture a healthy lifestyle. Family Health Festival is our premier annual wellness event that promotes health awareness and provides a forum to showcase the many opportunities and ways an individual and family can take responsibility for their health and wellness. Agape Children’s Museum has hosted and conducted approximately one event a year focused on children with various disabilities and we have collaborated and partnered with the community’s local libraries, schools, health providers and faith-based entities to empower and educate families on health and wellness resources.