News | Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Passionate people often have a creative streak, and Favi Parilla is definitely one of those people. Favi is a Parent Educator at Any Baby Can, where she provides case management services to pregnant and parenting moms through the Tandem Collaboration. She works with each client one-on-one, most often meeting with them at home or school. She teaches them about child development and parenting skills, and together, they set educational and career goals. It’s this individualized work that gave Favi the insight to identify a need that affects the group as a whole: online literacy.
Over the course of a few months, Favi received requests from multiple clients for help completing online job applications. In addition to lacking the skills necessary to navigate an online system, many didn’t have an email address or know how to set up an account, a requirement for completing the applications. Favi began providing one-on-one help, and then that creative spark kicked in. To go beyond teaching each client individually, Favi approached Austin Free-Net, a nonprofit that provides technology training, to discuss possibilities for teaching the group.
After discovery meetings with Any Baby Can, Austin Free-Net launched a seven week pilot program with six of Favi’s clients. In addition to creating a targeted curriculum, barriers specific to the population were also addressed: classes were bilingual, transportation was provided by Any Baby Can, and children were welcome in the classroom. Clients learned basic online literacy skills, how to conduct an online job search, and each student set up an email account and created a resume. After completing the class and having a better understanding of the importance of education, two clients went back to finish their GED and two enrolled in English as a Second Language classes. One student, Stephanie, landed a job at Goodwill Industries, and is currently working full time. Stephanie credits the classes with being able to secure the job, saying, “I feel I can accomplish more. My life has changed in many ways, like in the way I am prepared for getting employment and able to communicate in a professional way.”
Favi (right) pictured with Stephanie at her new job at Goodwill Industries.
children in Travis County have a special health care need
words are known by a 3 yr old on welfare; a middle class 3 yr old knows 1,116 words
1 in 10
kids in Travis County are in Special Education classes