Our History

At the end of the second quarter of 2014, the Head Start Program serving the City of Trenton expanded into a comprehensive child development organization serving the health, education, disabilities and social service needs of families living in poverty. The board and executive staff of the former Trenton Head Start intuitively and methodically understood the importance of engaging families and children beyond the preschool years; learned during their 47 year history of providing services to Trenton children and families.

A pilot sample of 139 families who exited Trenton Head Start and enrolled their children in local kindergartens effective September 2014 were outreached to and encouraged to participate in focus groups and surveys to provide proof of concept. The dialogue that occurred during the focus groups was informative, compelling and evidence of the model's significance, relevance and necessity. Some initial impressions derived from the focus group and completed surveys indicated:

  • Parents demonstrate a willingness to participate with their peers in developing skills that would reinforce leadership of family achievement goals;
  • Parents are actively aware of setting individual academic and training goals as a means to set an example and motivate the achievement of their children;
  • Parents are willing to participate in activities that are not mandated when they add value and bring meaning to their roles and the lives of the individuals in their family;
  • Parents provide clear contrasts between training activities to support the parenting role and enrichment activities to support the family milieu. This indicates an interest and demand for activities and goal planning in each area.

In response to these findings, the Center for Child and Family Achievement (CCFA) became a program model in 2014. Today the program is operational with 20 families and 48 children participating in programs and activities prescribed by the model and informed by ongoing engagement of families and best practices. For every six families there is a cohort leader that maintains and ongoing query and by way of engagement, the need for service plan adjustments and overall, the effectiveness of the model. Evaluation at critical milestones helps CCFA to measure whether successful acquisition of particular skills and knowledge has occurred and whether educational plan objectives are being met. In our most robust application, CCFA builds the capacity of parents and guardians to actively participate in an informed way, and intentionally guide, within a framework of support and resources, the academic success of their children.

Our Model

The CCFA model is conceptually designed to impact the achievement gap in the City of Trenton. It is premised on providing a longitudinal support system, outcomes-based methodology and evidence-based practice, that will deliver a dynamic continuum of academic and social service resources for the entire family. Our continuum of services provides a suite of case managed interventions that include, but are not limited to individualized and family educational planning, child and family enrichment services, behavioral healthcare referrals, parent academic and job coaching, educational enrichment activities for children and families, parent advocacy leadership training and developing a family support network.

Partner organizations in conjunction with family cohort team leaders work to supervise client referrals and strategic engagement to augment and undergird the alignment and impact of services. The model includes the development of memorandums of understanding with each partner to ensure agreed upon protocols that programmatically support implementation and effectiveness. It also addresses the fact that children of economically and socially challenged parents require a unique mix of wholly integrated structural supports. The administration of these supports is managed by a project director and four family cohort team leaders, who under the leadership of the chief executive, work in partnership with each family and in tandem with our strategic partners, to execute our services and family achievement impact.

Our Approach

The CCFA approach creates logical and gradual progressions of achievement producing behaviors that become actualized for each unique family. Social science research over the past decades, has suggested that family structure affects children's school outcomes, from preschool to college. Early childhood education studies also indicate that when a low-income minority child begins kindergarten, there are major disparities. The data also indicates variations in school performance could be explained, in part or in whole, by the differences in family resources, such as time and money, family dynamics and parental characteristics that are associated with various family forms. These are mediating factors, or mechanisms, through which family structure affects schooling outcomes. Family structure may also exert a direct influence, independent of mediating factors. To streamline parental decision making while undergirding family achievement skill and values, CCFA emphasizes:

  1. Outreach and Engagement - The agency provides ongoing contact and inquiries with parents and guardians to determine interest, availability, participation and accountability for focus groups, special events, cultural and performing arts, book fairs, library visits, Disney Live, family fun nights, nature walks/camping, museum visits and other exposure designed, skill building and intergenerational outings.
  2. Child/Family Assessment and Enrollment Eligibility - CCFA uses a variety of methods to evaluate, measure and document academic readiness, learning progress and skill acquisition of CCFA family achievement students and families from preschool through college and adulthood. Our method emphasizes a case management approach by family cohort team leaders to determine individualized levels of need within families for the acquisition of particular skills and knowledge, toward increased positive outcomes in child and family achievement.
  3. Parent Advocacy and Leadership Training - Involves teaching parent advocacy, avocations for maximum resources, and services to ensure child optimal performance in alignment with the directives and needs of the family service plan.
  4. Family Achievement Cohorts - Designed to create small family support groups who come together around a similar mission of educational achievement for the child and later, for his/her siblings. Parents will be encouraged to focus on furthering their educational achievement, utilizing the family service plan's identified goals and relevant activities. The cohort assists parents to identify and organize family achievement priorities around local resources, and the family achievement community of child learners and their families.

Our Results

  1. Model Evaluation and Assessment - Summative assessment is a key part of the larger impact evaluation and evidence based practice framework. If an educational strategy is evidence-based, data- or research-based, educators compile, analyze and use objective evidence to inform the design of academic programs or guide modification of instructional techniques. Our model includes these tiers of data collection toward program evaluation and assessment.
  2. Educational/University Partnerships - In partnership with the model, strategically selected institutions of higher learning assist the development of research to inform the unique impact of dynamic forces influencing the achievement of low-income minority children. The university partnership guides, and suggests refinement at critical milestones to undergird the integrity and validity of outcome evaluation, assessment and reporting.
  3. Building Community Partnerships - External public and private partnerships are critical for effective implementation to programmatically provide a dynamic continuum of academic and social service resources for children and families. Through a network of strategic alignments, CCFA assists its families with resources that include: individual and family goal setting; continuing education counseling and referral; employment counseling and training; social service referrals that assist with housing, utility, food, clothing and transportation deficits; child health, behavioral, social, psychological and neurological assessments as needed; and behavioral health referrals including substance abuse assessment and treatment referrals as needed.

Our Team

The Board

Ali Wilson, Esq., President, Board of Directors

Ali Wilson is the current President of the Center of Child and Family Achievement. He is an Assistant Vice President of Underwriting for Zurich North America Commercial Insurance Company based in New York City and Philadelphia, PA. He also served in various leadership positions in the insurance industry, for community development corporations and non-profit organizations in New Jersey. He has served as President of the I Am Trenton Community Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Trent House Museum. Ali is also a member of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens Board of Trustees, Somerset, New Jersey. He and his family are residents of the City of Trenton. He is a graduate of Middlebury College (1991) and of Washington & Lee University School of Law (1995).

Dr. Patricia Kempton, Vice President, Board of Directors

Dr. Patricia Kempton is the current Vice President of the Center for Child and Family Achievement. She has dedicated over forty years of her career as an educational leader. She has worked on all levels of teaching from teaching English on a high school level, to teaching as a college professor. Dr. Kempton's participation on the CCFA Boad is informed by her membership on the New Jersey Governor's School Board of Directors; New Jersey Association of Supervisors and Principals; and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for English/Language Arts. Dr. Kempton represents a global perspective and commitement to cultural diversity currently serving as a NJ Amistad Commissioner and having served as an English techer for the Boston Indian Council; and an Educational fellow to the New Jersey Holocaust Commission. Dr. Kempton has received many awards including the Governor's Teacher of the Year by the State of New Jersey. Dr. Kempton is the proud mother of two daughters and three grandsons.

Wanda Webster Stansbury, Executive Director, CCFA

Lisa G. Kearney

Lisa G. Kearney is the Operations and Business Development Manager for K & S Tire Service, LLC, a family owned business. She is a graduate of Seton Hall University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Masters if Arts in Corporate and Public Communication/ M.B.A track. Although her hearts desire was to work in the non profit sector, she has incorporated her love and desire to work with women and children through her community service. In addition to join in CCFA, she serves as Board President for Families and Communities Together, a care management organization, that supports families with children who have behavioral issues.

Cindy Kunnas

Cindy Kunnas has worked in development at Rider University for almost ten years. Most recently, she served as a prospect researcher and was part of a team that raised over $14 million in cash in fiscal year 2013. Cindy's identification of new prospects resulted in increased funds raised from a baseline of $5 million. Prior to that, she served under the Directors of Planned Giving, Athletics Major Gifts, and Corporation and Foundation Relations. During that time, Cindy gained invaluable experience in grant writing. At Rider, she also enjoyed volunteering for phonathon and working on fundraising events. Currently, Cindy is a Human Resources researcher at Vertical Screen where she performs comprehensive employment background checks. She received her MBA from Rider University. Also, she loves salsa dancing and taking care of her horse she has owned for over twenty years.

Arnold M. Mayberg, CPA, PC

Arnold Mayberg is a graduate of Northeastern University, and has a master's degree from Troy State University. He has served in the U.S. Air Force, and worked at the U.S. Department of Labor. He has also been a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants examination staff. His firms' clients include Academicians; entertainment professionals; high-networth clients; as well as working families and individuals.

Brett McCollough

Brett McCollough is a Technology Executive, Mentor, and avid Community Supporter. Brett was born and raised in Bronx, NY. After achieving his A.D. in Business at LaGuardia Community College, Brett went on to work for Bloomberg LP in their early startup phase. Today he serves as their Global Head of Data Centers/IT Operations and Infrastructure. Throughout his professional career Brett has made giving back to the community a central focus. He currently serves as a board member and advisor for The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) where he raised over $250,000 in donations and recruited 3 members to their board and junior board.

Mary Ryan

Altheia Spruill

Althea Spruill taught Elementary School for 37 years and dedicated 27 of those years to teaching in the City of Trenton. Ms. Spruill is a former Trenton Head Start teacher which eventually informed her wok at the Trenton Board of Education. She has served the community as a Girl Scout Leader and a Service Unit Director of Girl Scouts. Ms. Spruill served on the Trenton Head Start Board for two years immediately prior to her service on the board of CCFA. She has a love for education and a heart for people, especially children. She believes the Aristotelian philosophy, "Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well."

The CCFA Staff

Josephine (Josie) Wright, Programs Manager

Josephine (Josie) Wright is the Programs Manager for the Center for Child and Family Achievement. She brings over 31 years of experience working with children and families living in poverty in the City of Trenton. She has served in capacities as Human Resource Director and Acting Head Start Executive Director. Career competencies include ethical conduct, Human Resource Development, Strategic Thinking, Leadership, Decision Making, Financial Management, Budget and Project Development. She has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Strayer University.

Vickie Kamath, Assistant Programs Manager

Vickie provides administrative support to the Center for Child and Family Achievement team. She has worked in the nonprofit sector in New Jersey for the past six years. Vickie developed a strong sense of appreciation for the nonprofit sector having as a beneficiary of development programs at Dress for Success of Mercer County. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life for children and families living in poverty in the Trenton community. She received a BA from Farleigh Dickinson University with a focus in Business Management and Technology.

Jeanette Riddle, Fiscal Specialist

Jeanette M. Riddle is the Fiscal Specialist for the Center for Child and Family Achievement. She brings over 15 years of accounting experience. Career highlights include Sales Reporting, Performance Analysis, Scheduling, File Management, Strategic Planning, Business Development/Planning, and Account Management. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Philadelphia University.

Kenneth Moore, Education Specialist

Kenneth Moore is the volunteer Educational Specialist for the Center of Child and Family Achievement. He is a retired Principal, having served in Trenton, NJ for 24 years, and CEO of KBM PUBLISHING CO, located in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. He also served in various leadership positions in the US Army and the New Jersey Army National Guard, and is a Viet-Nam veteran. He has served on the Boards of several community non-profit organizations in Mercer and Atlantic Counties. Mr. Moore is a member of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Pleasantville, New Jersey, where he serves as the Director and a Musician for the Male Chorus. He is a graduate of Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA and of The College of New Jersey.

Dr. Stephen Payne, Strategic Advisor

Dr. Stephen G. Payne is an executive guide, speaker and professor on the subject of leading growth in the business world. He runs Leadership Strategies, LLC, a global partnership of executive advisors serving major for-profit and non-profit organizations. He is dedicated to working with the CEOs, their top teams and groups of managers, guiding them in developing and implementing clear, focused strategies for success. Prior to founding Leadership Strategies in 1994, he was President and CEO of PA Consulting Group. He is the author of several inspiring books and CDs.

© 2019 Center for Child and Family Achievement