Every Family. Every Child. Every Time.
Family Resource Center
Parents and Caregivers 

Positive change in children and families begins with informed parents and caregivers. We offer a number of programs to help educate, support, and empower you to take control of your family life and keep it on the right track including:

  • English and high school equivalency classes in collaboration with West Hartford Adult Education (childcare available at no charge)
  • Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI)
  • People Empowering People parent leadership training (UCONN PEP)
  • The Wisdom Circle peer group for grandparents
  • Lending library
  • Baby Bookworms (family literacy book club)
  • Support and Training for home childcare providers
  • Ages and Stages child development screenings
  • Childcare referrals
  • Ongoing parenting support groups
  • Access to school readiness scholarship information and support

People Empowering People (PEP)

UConn People Empowering People (PEP)is a FREE ten-week leadership course for parents and other adults  who care about children and their well-being and want to make a difference in our community. Using a curriculum developed by the UConn Cooperative Extension, PEP participants meet weekly with a trained facilitator and discuss communication skills, parenting practices, values, problem solving, and action planning. As a group they select a community service project and see it through from planning to implementation. Individuals may also choose to complete a project on their own.

Childcare and food is provided at each PEP session and there is no charge to participate. The Bridge's Family Resource Center has offered PEP since 1997 and graduates have gone on to serve on school committees and in PTO leadership roles, volunteered at not-for-profit agencies, and returned to the workforce. Twelve adults graduated from the 2015 class and more than 100 West Hartford residents are PEP alumni. For more information about UConn PEP in West Hartford, please contact Robin Drago at Robin_drago@whps.org, or click here

Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI)

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The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) is a FREE 20-week program that combines advocacy, leadership, and citizenship skills into a curriculum to promote the best interests of children. It also works with local and statewide programs and initiatives to help parents take an active role in system reforms.

The program is designed by the American Leadership Forum, Leadership Greater Hartford, and the Connecticut Commission on Children. PLTI has been held in towns throughout Connecticut since 1993 and continues to show great success in training parents as community leaders.

There are three components of the Parent Leadership Training Institute:

  • An initial retreat
  • Twenty weekly educational sessions that focus on knowledge about the change process, skill building, and tools of civic engagement
  • A community project

The goals of PLTI are:

  • Helping parents become great leaders for their children and families.
  • Increasing positive parent-child interactions and improving child success through parent involvement.
  • Training parents to be active participants in the democratic process - to take part in community policy development and problem resolution.
If you are interested in learning more about either PEP or PLTI, or for more information on Family Resource Center programs and services, please contact Deborah Zipkin at 860.929.5575, or click here
Elementary School-Aged Children 

Children are the future of our community and they need guidance and nurturing to help shape them into good and productive citizens.  We offer a variety of programs aimed at the enrichment and support of elementary school-age children, including:

  • After-school enrichment classes
  • Field trips
  • Theater group
  • Peer support groups
  • Recess programs
  • K.I.D.S. - Kids in Divorce and Separation group
For more information regarding Family Resource Center activities for school-age children, please contact Deborah Zipkin, FRC Director, at 860.929.5575
Young Children 

It is beneficial to begin working with children as young as a few months old in order to equip them with the social, emotional, and cognitive skills necessary for a smooth transition into kindergarten. The FRC offers many early learning programs to help meet the needs of our community, including:

  • Early learning drop-in playgroups for children ages birth to 4 offered mid-September through mid-June at the following locations: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at Charter Oak School; Tuesdays 10:00-11:00a.m. at Webster Hill School; Wednesday 9:30-10:30am at Smith School; Thursdays 9:00-10:00 a.m. at Wolcott School Note: Playgroups at Webster Hill, Smith, and Wolcott begin in October. 
  • Home visits using the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  • Book and toy lending library
  • Saturday Academy
  • Family literacy activities
  • 1,2,3 Read with Me summer program
  • Special events

1,2,3 Read with Me
1,2,3 Read with Me is a summer program with a curriculum designed to introduce children to the skills they need for school success, including activities to build vocabulary, prepare them for reading and math, and help them become comfortable with the school environment. Field trips to Auer 4-H Farm in Bloomfield and Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill enrich the program. 1,2,3 Read with Me is further enhanced by regular visits from a West Hartford children's librarian, a yoga instructor, and a WHPS music teacher, in addition the children attend theater performances. The program takes place at Charter Oak International Academy and runs from the end of June until the end of July. Children who participate in the program must be entering kindergarten in West Hartford's Charter Oak International Academy or Smith STEM School in September.

For more information about this popular program, please contact Deborah Zipkin, FRC Director, at 860.929.5575

Circle of Security® Parenting Program

The Circle of Security® Parenting™ program is an 8-week researched-based program that supports and strengthens a parent/caregiver’s ability to understand a child’s emotional needs and how best to respond and support those needs. Learn more by visiting our blog


Preschool Education And Care for Everyone. This year, we will begin offering before and after-school care for 3- and 4-year-old children who attend preschool at the Charter Oak International Academy. This is a tuition-based program offered mornings from 7:30-8:35 a.m. and afternoons from 3:20-5:30 p.m. Care will be available on Wednesday afternoons from 2:00-5:30 p.m. Contact Deborah Zipkin at 860.929.5575 for more information. 

Summer Preschool Program

1,2,3 Read with Me begins on June 26 and runs for four weeks. The program has both morning and afternoon sessions and serves children who will enter kindergarten at Charter Oak International Academy or Smith School in the fall.

The curriculum introduces children to the skills they will need for school success, including activities to build vocabulary and prepare for reading, hands-on math activities, and many opportunities to become comfortable with the school environment. The program includes early math and literacy activities, cooking and crafts, weekly music classes, and two field trips. There is no fee to attend, but families are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Family Resource Center. 

The program is one of many provided by the Bridge's FRC that serves more than 850 children and parents in West Hartford each year.

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