Thank You For Supporting Horizons

2023 was a year of innovation, new partnerships, and expansion at Horizons for Homeless Children. We created a new Playspace model to address the growing numbers of homeless families in our state and added two clinicians to our early education team to address the increased social-emotional needs of the children at our center. The Family Partnership Team greatly expanded our skill-based workshops and parent groups to provide scaffolding for parents to achieve success. We hosted numerous events at our center and throughout the city to build a stronger community. These accomplishments were made possible thanks to our supporters! 

As we embark on this new year, we’re reflecting on how our community has helped us reach new potential throughout 2023:  

Early Education:

– Meeting the rising needs of food insecurity, we served over 103,000 meals and healthy snacks to children in our early education center to account for 80% of their daily nutrition. 

– 272 children accessed our early education center and benefited from a trauma-informed curriculum including 81 newly enrolled children. – 

– Our strong commitment to investing in the training and development of our teachers led to Horizons establishing a Core Curriculum for all educators and leaders within our early education program this year.  

– We piloted and rolled out the app-based communications tool ProCare which allows teachers to message parents directly as a way of sharing updates, pictures, and discuss observations, which has already been successfully adopted by nearly 60% of parents.   

Playspace Program:

– Horizons led the effort to serve children from infancy through preschool living in emergency family shelters as a result of the migrant crisis.

– More than 60 Playspaces are up and running in shelters throughout the state, nine of which were newly established in motel spaces, with over 18,000 child visits to Playspaces throughout 2023. 

– We increased the number of Playspace volunteers by 30%, with over 800 PALs providing 37,800 hours of play to children living in shelters. 

– Through our collaborations with the Boston Children’s Museum, we brought Powerful Playtimes playgroups to families living in shelter to build social connections between parent and child and help children learn through play

– Our Playspace team hosted 42 parent workshops and also helped coordinate necessary wraparound services like early intervention for children living in shelter.

– Horizons initiated coordination with community partners including the Healey-Driscoll Administration, Cradles to Crayons, and Neighborhood Villages to ensure approximately 10,000 children received coats, hats, backpacks, and toys.

Family Partnerships Program:

– We’ve broadened our two-generational model to support families, enhancing our parent offerings around key areas: Parenting, skills acquisition, English as a Second Language (ESOL) coursework, computer training, and financial literacy. 

– Our Family Advocates Team developed a new parent coaching framework known as Pathways to New Horizons, in which parents create actionable goals and track their progress in 5 domains: Wellbeing, Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Finances.

– Family advocates also launched a new Parent Profile Program – with 135 family profiles completed – which will revolutionize our comprehensive understanding of obstacles our families face and what services are most helpful to them as they progress.

– We celebrated the second year of our Parents Council, further opening lines of communication, collaboration, and achievement.   

– We held 155 community activities, such as personal finance workshops and parent breakfasts for enrolled families.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

– We launched a series of events, Aprendemos Juntos, to highlight our work with Latino families and staff.  

– We appointed a Director of DEI Engagement focused on bringing a DEI lens to all of our programmatic work with the children and families we serve.

– We extended our commitment to building community by creating a Haitian Community Group and Spanish-speaking group as well as a Father’s Support Group.  

Advocating for Children and Families:

Horizons worked with lawmakers and fellow advocates to unlock services and supports for young children where they are most needed:

– A landmark FY2024 budget utilized state funds to directly support much-needed childcare slots and educator wages statewide.

– $350,000 in state funding was secured for Horizons’ longstanding Playspace program.

Horizons took a leadership role to advocate with government and the nonprofit sector to achieve some key goals, including:

– Bringing attention to young children living in large-scale hotel-based shelters.

– Supporting the Department of Early Education and Care in crafting new family-centric financial assistance regulations and increasing support for infant and toddler care.

At Horizons, we’re leading the way to support the growing family homelessness population, and it’s through the support of our community we’re able to make a difference for the children and families who need us. We are grateful for the continued investment that makes a positive impact for the hundreds of families who depend on our services.  

We hope to see you in 2024 – be sure to save the date for our upcoming Spring Gala to see your impact firsthand!