Across New York’s rural communities, family stability has been endangered as many balance limited resources, homeschooling, working from home, and sickness throughout the pandemic. Coupled with undue stress, families with children are struggling to navigate the new normal but parent-driven programs have stepped in to lend a helping hand.
Tompkins Families, an Ithaca-based program run by Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County (CCETC), helps low-income families better navigate economic, health-related, and social challenges threatening family stability, which have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supported by a $90,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the program offers in-person and online classes and workshops for nearly 100 low-income families. Additionally, the program hosts networking and community organizing events. Programming includes parenting skills workshops, parent-child nutrition education, financial management, and a series of community conversations. CCE-Tompkins provides training for 1,200 volunteers and 200 grassroots leaders.
Overall, this critical community resource seeks to promote optimal child developmental outcomes and mitigate child abuse and family violence risks.
As the new normal continues to be redefined, so do New York’s families. Looking ahead, programs like Tompkins Families will ensure vulnerable rural communities have access to the resources they need to create healthy children, strong families, and supportive communities.