Most St. Louisans have been touched by the events now known as "Ferguson," and are aware of the big challenges facing our city. Many of us want to be part of the solution, and we want to do something tangible, impactful and effective. It’s hard as individuals to know where to start, especially as parents whose lives are already compressed and tumultuous.
Our family learning program introduces parents, and their children from birth to age 8, to compelling works of children's literature that feature diverse characters, provides supportive resources and materials to help start and strengthen family conversations about race and racism, and fosters community building around these topics. You have the opportunity to join us in creating a new story for our children and our city.
We enroll new families in cohorts of 100 three times a year (January, May and September), and currently support 640 families. Please sign up below to be added to the wait list and get more enrollment information!
We piloted our program approach with 80 local families from November 2015-February 2016. Here's what some participants had to say about their experience:
”People would be surprised by the impact that simply diversifying your home library can have. The dialogues that can come out of reading books with pictures of people (and places) not like ourselves are incredibly powerful, and my hope is that they have a lasting impact beyond these formative years for my kids.” - Pilot Participant
“The biggest take-away for me is that it's ok to talk explicitly and openly with your kids about race. I was afraid that to acknowledge differences and poverty and the circumstances that created the current segregation we see would scare my daughter or cause her to say embarrassing things to others. Neither of these things have happened and I see an increased level of empathy forming within her now.” - Pilot Participant
“We Stories is a way to take action. as we become more intentional about the conversations we have with our kids, and with each other, we can begin crafting the kind of equitable, inclusive city we want Saint Louis to be. it is a rewarding experience and is powerful to be among other white folks doing this work." - Pilot Participant
“We Stories encourages families to not only talk about the differences in skin colors, but invites white families to really consider their whiteness. And this conversation becomes something even more powerful when little minds and hearts are invited to join the conversation.” - Pilot Participant
The Family Learning Program includes:
- 4 age-appropriate books per child that feature diverse characters, examine differences, and address race and racism
- Monthly book recommendations for each age group, discounts for purchasing books and a library program for borrowing
- Accompanying resources to support meaningful parent-child interactions and adult learning each month
- Access to a supportive community of growth-minded families
- Invitations to in person discussion opportunities as well as community events such as story times, workshops, and civic gatherings
- Fresh perspectives on St. Louis history, landmarks and institutions
- Opportunities to support existing efforts to make St. Louis a better place for all families