EDCI's team of Family and Program Advocates support East Durham children and families from academic and social-emotional standpoints, from early childhood through graduation. Engagement with Family Advocates can include home visits, assessments and screenings, referrals to services, and the creation of parent education workshops called "Parent Cafés." Parent Café topics range from navigating school options (Durham Public Schools, Charter Schools, Private Schools, etc.) to a series on resilient parenting. Beyond substantial relationship-building successes, the EDCI Family Advocate program has driven significant results. Ninety-six percent of children working with an Early Childhood Family Advocate over the last 3 years demonstrated developmental and age-appropriate skills. And a survey of kindergarten teachers at Y.E. Smith Elementary School, located within the EDCI Zone, showed that incoming students with an Early Childhood Family Advocate had better language and literacy skills, behavior, and attendance than those without a Family Advocate.

Family Advocates support children's academic successes through academic interventions and referrals to services and programs. The EDCI Family Advocate team is subdivided into: 1) Early Childhood Family Advocates, 2) Middle Years Family Advocates, and 3) Youth Program Advocates. Youth Program Advocates Katherin Castillo and Darryl Barnes are embedded within Neal Middle School, where they engage with students each day. All EDCI Family Advocates work with parents to ensure that children are socially, emotionally, and physically prepared to succeed in school. 

More than 200 families and nearly 500 children are actively engaged with an EDCI Family Advocate through home visits, information and recommendations, school support, referrals to partner programs, general support and intervention.

Meet the Advocates!

Pictured above (left to right): EDCI volunteer, Middle Years Advocate Natalie Pickett, Early Childhood Program Manager Carla Fryling, Middle Years Advocate Judy Alston, Early Childhood Advocate Denise Blanco-Duran, Youth Program Advocate Katherin Castillo, Director of Academic Success Kevin Kay, Youth Program Advocate Darryl Barnes, and Middle Years Advocate Julian Aaron.

Learn more about EDCI Family Advocates on the Staff Page.

  • The Fox Family Foundation
  • Wells Fargo

Parent Cafe: Let's Talk about It--Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism

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