Leaps and Bounds continues providing family services

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published November 25, 2015

 At a Leaps and Bounds class Nov. 14, Angelia Ragan teaches the proper way to move someone in an emergency situation that may have a head, neck or spine injury. Students learned the technique in the class Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED by the American Heart Association.

At a Leaps and Bounds class Nov. 14, Angelia Ragan teaches the proper way to move someone in an emergency situation that may have a head, neck or spine injury. Students learned the technique in the class Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED by the American Heart Association.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WARREN — When she was in the ninth grade, Julie DuBois dropped out of school.

Last May, the 37-year-old Sterling Heights resident found herself in class again. At the encouragement of her boyfriend, DuBois enrolled in the GED program available at Leaps and Bounds Family Services in Warren.

Working one-on-one with a teacher, DuBois is on her way to earning her GED.

“It’s been going good so far,” DuBois said. “I thought I would never be able to do this, but I’m doing pretty good, actually.”

Leaps and Bounds Family Services, located inside classrooms at Mount Calvary Church at 8129 Packard Ave., has several services available to families, including GED preparation. Students in the GED program are able to schedule the times they are in class around family and work.

Providing support to parents of young children also is a mainstay at Leaps and Bounds. The family services agency recently received a $500,000 grant from United Way for Southeastern Michigan to be used to support the Early Learning Communities.

“In Macomb County, we’re serving about 45 families a year with early learning home visits,” Leaps and Bounds Family Services Executive Director Denise Dorsz said. “We use a curriculum called Parents as Teachers to support parents to become their children’s first teachers so kids are ready to start kindergarten.

“Many of those people are non-English-speaking households. We do our work bilingually so the kids are getting to speak English when they start kindergarten,” Dorsz said. “I think because education in the world is changing, we can all benefit from learning how to help children be ready for kindergarten. The programs are open to anybody.”

Leaps and Bounds also has play and learn groups for young children in which they explore storytelling, music and movement, and arts and crafts.

“We are doing a lot of parent resource rooms at Kennedy Early Childhood Center in Van Dyke (Public Schools) and at the Early Childhood Center in Center Line,” Dorsz said. “We are there a half-day a week. The parents come with their kids and do activities together.”

Dorsz said child care training for caregivers is another program offered.

“They might be a home provider or in a licensed center,” Dorsz said. “All of them have to do continuing education and maintain that (child care) criteria.”

In addition, Leaps and Bounds representatives also have a new partnership with Macomb Community College.

“We meet once a month and have a session at the college on different topics for parents who have young children,” Dorsz said. The goal is to provide support to MCC students who are parents of young children.

Tiffany Johnson is the Leaps and Bounds executive assistant to Dorsz. One of Johnson’s many responsibilities is to further promote the services offered through the organization.

“We try to keep everything free or low cost,” Johnson said. “If someone needs it, we need to provide it. Like the child care training, it’s open to anyone from anywhere. I think we need to focus on making the community stronger. Just to feel supported as a parent is very important.”

Several other programs are available at the church, said Mary Potts, who is the president of the church congregation and also on the Leaps and Bounds board of directors. An eviction diversion program and a diaper and food pantry are there too. The building is primarily open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For further information about Leaps and Bounds Family Services, contact Denise Dorsz at ddorsz@leapsnbounds.org or at (586) 759-3895.

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