Community Partner Spotlight: Julie's Family Learning Program

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Colin’s Joy Project is proud to partner with Julie’s Family Learning Program as a way to give back to the South Boston community and foster strong family-focused programming. We will be working with Julie’s in the years to come as we continue to collect items they need and provide financial support for their programs.  Recently, we sponsored Julie’s as one of our chosen community partners to benefit from Colin’s 4th Birthday Beach BBQ Party! Admission to the party was one item from the donation list put together by Julie’s Family Learning Program and The South Boston Neighborhood House (The Ollie). We’re thrilled to report that we had an unbelievable turnout and everyone was more than generous in their giving for these 2 well-deserving organizations!

A little bit about Julie’s Family Learning Program

Sister Jean Sullivan and Sister Louise Kearns

Sister Jean Sullivan and Sister Louise Kearns

Julie’s Family Learning Program is built on a solid foundation of confidence building, self esteem boosting, and hope providing. Julie’s is a place for young, at-risk mothers from unstable backgrounds to find family support through intensive wellness and education programs. Julie’s uses a holistic approach in the many programs they provide to support mother and child.The center, founded in 1974 by Sister Jean Sullivan, SND and Sister Louise Kearns, SND, provides 20 different services to over 200 dis-advantaged mothers and young children in the Greater Boston area. Some of the services include: health education, life skills, parenting, and educational support for both mom and baby.

The hope of Julie’s is to provide the tools for young mothers to build a foundation in which the mom and child can not only survive but thrive. 

How Julie’s Helps Moms

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Being a mother is hard. Being a mother facing multiple challenges from homelessness to addiction and domestic violence can seem like an impossible task. Many of the mothers that come to Julie’s are suffering from low self esteem and a sense of hopelessness. Julie’s changes that and provides the tools for the mothers to build a better future not only for her child, but for herself. Julie’s does this first by providing basic needs such as helping women gain secure, safe, and stable housing. Julie’s utilizes the “Literacy for Life” curriculum. Through the curriculum, the women learn to strengthen their math and literacy skills in order to obtain their GED. Life skills education courses are provided in the areas of parenting, health and wellness, home management, and peer relations. Among other things, these courses teach the women skills to exercise positive discipline, develop healthy eating habits, make a budget, and ways to have healthy relationships. Also, Julie provides job-readiness programs, employment and career counseling, and computer literacy courses. In addition, multiple support groups are set up in order to give mothers a space to share stories to find solace and hope through camaraderie.

How Julie’s Helps Kids

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While the moms are working on building a foundation for success, the child is benefiting from Julie’s Infant and Child Development Center. The on-site center currently provides forty-two children with an in-depth and intensive early education program. Julie’s Montessori Preschool is an accredited and licensed school through the American Montessori Society as well as ECC. The child starts their learning journey through a curriculum that provides the opportunity to learn through hands-on exploration and discovery. Each child is given a comprehensive education plan in order to lift the child to its fullest potential. 

How Julie’s Helps Families

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Julie’s is fiercely committed to a multigenerational approach of bringing the whole family together in their learning journey. The center helps mom gain the knowledge and confidence to guide her child. One of the goals of the program is to enrich both the mom and child’s experience, instead of moving through the motions. They hope to help families truly cultivate a life-long thirst for knowledge and they encourage families to search for ways to learn together, as a family. One of the ways Julie’s Family Learning Program achieves this is by holding literacy event field trips throughout the year. The families read books about a topic and then have hands on learning experiences, together. A program favorite is the Fall apple picking excursion. Efforts like this enables the whole family to rise together.

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How YOU can help

If you go to their website, Julie’s has a “donate” button as well as a “ways you can help” page. The Program is funded entirely through private donors and family foundations, and so they rely on support from the community to continue to do their good work. Donations are used for everything from purchasing diapers for the children in the program to providing nutritious meals for moms and kids, to providing moms with T passes so they have reliable transportation to Julie’s. They’re always in need of support, and every little bit helps. 

If you would prefer to donate your time instead, be sure to check out their list of volunteer opportunities! They always need people to assist in everything from landscaping to event planning to tutoring and administrative tasks.

If you’re able, consider taking the time to help Julie’s help families in need.  And a big thanks to Sara Ryan for taking the time to educate us on all the good work taking place at Julie’s!

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The mission of Colin’s Joy Project is to bring joy to children in the South Boston neighborhood, and we’re so proud to partner with an organization like Julie’s Family Learning Program, which also works hard to support kids and families in our community. By helping us support Julie’s, you’ll not only be spreading joy in Colin’s name, you’ll also be helping to ease the burdens of parenthood for these families, as it will lighten their load and bring smiles to their faces.   

Stay tuned as we continue to spotlight more community partners!

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