Helping Families Help Themselves | Congregation Beth Am

Helping Families Help Themselves

Thanks to Beth Am's Equal Start Initiative

Beth Am’s Equal Start program is focused on increasing access to early childhood education (“ECE”), especially in underserved communities. Some families unfortunately do not have the means to avail themselves of pre-schools or they may need additional support in their family environment to employ alternative strategies. We have thus put effort into finding alternative approaches which facilitate a nurturing family environment for young children that is so critical for their future.

In this context, the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic church in East Palo Alto requested help from Equal Start to support and conduct a pilot program based on a curriculum from Vanderbilt University. The Vanderbilt curriculum was developed to help provide families with tools to promote healthy social and emotional development and school readiness for young children. Family engagement sessions were taught in Spanish by two church members who have advanced training and degrees in ECE. Following a light meal for all the families, the children were supervised by volunteers while the parents attended 90 minute classes. The St Francis community was extremely pleased with the initial efforts and outcomes. Various options are now being discussed for making similar opportunities available to many more families in the East Palo Alto community. For more information, please email Equal Start's Direct Interation team.

Equal Start is Beth Am’s social justice initiative whose goal is creating access to high-quality early learning for all California children from birth to five years of age. Equal Start is especially focused on addressing the needs of underserved areas in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Learn more about Equal Start.


Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (650) 493-4661 Contact Us

We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).