HIPPY: Our first generation of success
By JoAnn Freed, Executive Director
year Family Support Services of West Hawaii celebrated the high
school graduation of our very first HIPPY child—Shannel
Ramirez—who entered as a 4 year-old in 1996.
Shannel will be attending the University of Hawaii, Manoa
Campus this fall.
She has been a great supporter of our HIPPY program over the
years, attending and helping with the graduations of more than 1,000 five-year-olds from FSSWH’s HIPPY
programs on the islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Molokai.
mom Shannon (seen at right with daughter Melina who graduated
from HIPPY in 2005) became Hawaii’s first HIPPY Home Visitor in
1996, and since that time has gone on to complete her degree and
become FSSWH’s HIPPY Coordinator.
She is also the Hawaii Site Director for the partnership
between Americorps and HIPPY USA.
This collaboration allows our HIPPY Home Visitors
(themselves parents in the program) to earn educational stipends
for the community service work they perform during the year.
Many have used their education stipends to complete their
college degrees in Early Childhood Ed,, Hawaiian Studies and
Human Services. We
have seen many move into jobs in the teaching profession as a
result of their HIPPY experience.
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)
program works to increase parents' knowledge of and confidence
in child-rearing activities, to strengthen partnerships between
parents and professionals and to enhance the developmental
progress of the children assisted under the program.
Outreach strategies and services are designed to
emphasize local priorities and conditions and overcome the
traditional barriers to participation in school readiness
encompass a rich variety of practices including parent-to-parent
training activities, book and toy lending libraries, support
groups, playgroups, and information and referral networks.
Most importantly, the program provides support to
families with preschool children through the internationally
acclaimed 30 week curriculum used in HIPPY.
These strategies promote family strengthening in many
ways, leading to improved inter and intra family communications,
enhanced coping and problem-solving skills, increased readiness
for school success and, as we have witnessed, an increased sense
of appreciation for both the family members and the school
community in which the family lives.
We have had the opportunity over the years to witness many, many
success stories like the Ramirez’, and we hope we will see even
more over the next generation of services.