May 28, 2004

HIPPY An Investement In The Future

By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan

The name of the organization is HIPPY, but its education tactics are completely traditional. HIPPY USA San Diego, a non-profit organization has attempted to instill the traditional value of family time amidst the fast paced hustle and bustle of modern society.

For over a decade now, the program’s (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) main goal is to involve parents in the early stages of their child’s education by combining family time with education programs. By doing so, studies have shown that children are more likely to develop strong communication skills with their parents as they reach their pre- teen years. In addition to the latter, the child’s educational advancement is palpable in their reading skills, vocabulary enhancement and language usage. “We’ve had several cases where teachers come up to the parents to ask them about their child’s advanced skills,” said Rosa Hernandez, a HIPPY home instructor. “Their attention span and aptitude is unmatched for their age.”

The program consists in weekly, one hour- long gratuitous education sessions among the home instructor, parents and child. Upon arrival, the instructor prepares for the session by brining books and education packets the family can enjoy. All of which are granted to the family free of charge. In order to participate in the program, parents must have a child between the ages of three and six, attend information workshops and take a pledge to continue with their own education. In doing so, parents will teach their children about the indisputable importance of higher education. One’s immigration status is not taken into account at the time of application.

Abiding by the notion that it’s never too early plan for a child’s education, the HIPPY program focuses on training children for college at an extremely early age by instilling in them the importance of reading, writing and proper language usage. The age limit for the program is from three to five years of age, which according to participants are the pivotal ages for early learning.

For the past 11 years, HIPPY has taken an active role in preschool education all through the county. Currently, about 110 families from South East San Diego participate in the program. However, the organization has branched out throughout the nation. With offices in New York, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and California to name a few, the popularity and need for similar programs is stronger than ever.

“What is attractive about HIPPY is that it reminds parents that they are the primary teachers of their children,” said Hernandez.” The most important instruction comes from homes not schools.”

With a staff of approximately 11 employees, HIPPY instructors visit households once a week for 30 weeks. It is interesting to note though, that participating families are not only Spanish and English speaking households. In the Mid City are, HIPPY is currently working with 45 Somalian families. All of which receive visits from their Somali proficient home instructor.

Last Sunday (May 16), HIPPY organized a silent auction to raise funds for the program, while honoring the work of San Diego Assistant Chief, Adolfo Gonzales. The event, which drew dozens of attendees, was claimed as a success by both organizers and participants. “Perhaps what was most attractive about the event was that the community was not only investing in education,” said Hernandez. “It was also investing in our future.”

For more information on the HIPPY USA program one can call (619) 264-9096 or visit their offices at 4981 Market Street, San Diego.

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