The Care and Play with Me program! - ResourcesUnite!

Today’s blog post is a written by Jaclyn Sharp. Jaclyn is the Early Learning Readiness Program Facilitator for the YMCA and she is starting a program called “Care and Play with Me”. Jaclyn reached out to RU for assistance in spreading the word on the program, for help recruiting volunteers and even for any ideas regarding finding a permanent location to house the program.

Of course, we are all about spotlighting organizations doing good work in our community, so publishing a blog post was a quick and easy decision. But I felt it would be best to have Jaclyn speak about the program herself, in her words. When I met with Jaclyn it was clear she lives and breathes the Care and Play with Me mission and is committed to assisting as many families in the community as possible. Our community needs a programming like this and I’m excited to watch it grow.

So without further ado, here’s Jaclyn:

Care and Play with Me is a program that seeks to partner with and support friend, family, and neighbor caregivers in our community. The program is unique in its target audience and is needed in our community. Dubuque has large pockets of friend, family, and neighbor caregivers and we want to reach out and support their efforts.

When deciding to work with the program and in learning what the program had to offer I kept coming back to one dream: I want every caregiver and child to have the same golden experiences as I had with Auntie Glo.

Auntie Glo is not related to my family, she was a neighbor who watched over all the neighborhood children and was recommended to my mother as an excellent caregiver. Some of my best childhood memories took place under her care, I remember experiencing fruit trees for the first time in her backyard, making new friends, and eating wonderful home cooked food.

Today, we are still in touch and I visit her every time I’m in the neighborhood. I want every child to have this experience, to be ensconced within awesome early learning environments with caregivers that truly care and are dedicated to their growth and development.

The Care and Play with Me program will support these caregivers and help them enrich their programs. We want caregivers to enter our early learning environment and be able to take away practices that will help enrich their program. We also expect and desire to learn from their experiences and commentary and use that to further enrich our own program. Our goal is to create a friendly, partnered community between ourselves at Care and Play with Me and the friend, family, and neighbor caregiver community.

The progress for this program has been steady, with few bumps along the way. We’re looking for a site to hold our program and we’re looking for dedicated volunteers who have a passion for what we do. I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to going out into the community and getting to know our potential community partners. I happen to be new here, I just recently moved from Arizona and working within this program has been a blessing for me as I’m not just meeting community partners as a part of an organization but I’m also meeting my fellow community members for the first time. As I travel around the city meeting people I marvel at the architecture that is all around. I’ve observed Dubuque as a warm community with a lot of willing hands and hearts wanting to help in community outreach programs.

I want to thank everyone so far for their wonderful support and commitment to this program. I look forward to continuing developing this program for the good of the community and getting to know everyone I encounter along the way.

Thank you all for reading and I look forward to writing future posts on RU to keep everyone updated. If you have any further questions or comments feel free to contact me at

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