We had the opportunity today to explore the Ladywood Family Centre, a family center operated by the Wets Smethwick Enterprise (WSE) Charity. The center provides a place for children ages 1-4 to partake in pre-school activities while supporting their families as well. Many of these centers are placed in high-poverty areas as a means to assist families in breaking the cycle that usually traps families.
Early years (ages 0-5) services are incredibly important for the formation of the young mind. The WSE has high goals for the students in their care and extends much of that support to families in order to build better communities. Not only are the communities that they serve suffering from high rates of poverty, but they are also some of the most diverse too. Many students may not have English as a first language or could be coming from a vastly different culture.
There are many other services that the WSE is providing to families as well. There are multiple programs that go beyond pre-schooling and other academic focuses. Some of these services include development workers, family support services, and other family learning sessions. All of these services are free to the families that utilize them as well. We were given the opportunity to explore the Ladywood Centre while there. It is incredible how many amenities are being made available to the children in order to foster their growth. The students have access to a kitchen, sensory room, and small book collection, to name a few.
Following our time at Ladywood, we attended a lecture on various aspects of social work. It was very inspiring to hear the personal testimony that our lecturers had in their own families and in their work with students, or anyone otherwise, that might be disregarded by society. One phrase that really stuck with me was the idea that “You need to be it to see it.” The idea behind it is that not everything has an incredibly obvious context that can be understood without actually being in that position. This is especially true for those who require the assistance that social care provides.
We did also get the opportunity to meet with some BCU students over a pizza buffet. There were some nursing-themed games followed by an opportunity to meet with the students and talk for a while. Despite not going into a nursing-related field, I do enjoy hearing some of the experiences that the students have had and being able to see what kind of assumptions they have about America.