October 3, 2013

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton transitions SPARK Ohio management to the Early Childhood Resource Center

After a decade of managing SPARK Ohio, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton has turned over management and operation of the program to the Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) in Canton. With SPARK Director Shana Rozier accepting a position with the Canton City School District and the program experiencing significant growth over the last year, foundation staff thought a transition was needed.

SPARK, which stands for Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, is a parent-focused intervention program that works with families, schools and the community to increase children's readiness for kindergarten, increases parents’ effectiveness as learning advocates for their children and improves children's transitions into elementary school.

ECRC Executive Director Scott Hasselman is leading both ECRC and SPARK efforts. Hasselman has nearly 30 years of experience working in programs that serve children and families.

“I am deeply committed to continuing the expansion and development of SPARK in Ohio, with an emphasis on a community-based, multidisciplinary team approach,” said Hasselman.

Over the past decade, SPARK has served more than 3,600 Ohio children. This fall, the program expanded to serve nine counties and 1,400 children. In Stark County alone, SPARK reaches more than 460 families in Alliance, Canton, Massillon and Minerva.

“We are fortunate that our partnership with the ECRC will allow us to continue building our capacity as the replication hub for SPARK across Ohio. We are grateful that our current SPARK team will continue with us as well. We request your patience as we work to map out the numerous details involved in the transition,” said Joni Close, president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton.

SPARK rounds out the ECRC’s diverse range of offerings for families that include educational children’s programs, family support services and parenting education. The ECRC also has a unique collaboration with the Stark County District Library and houses a specialized early childhood library. The ECRC has more than 1,500 members.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and the Early Childhood Resource Center are ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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