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 26 families and 70 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 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 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
  • 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 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

Michael A. Gallo, Jr., Ph.D. President, Board of Directors

Michael Gallo Jr. serves as the Director of Research Development at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where he is responsible for assisting research faculty and research teams in identifying and responding to complex and center-level external funding opportunities. Prior to working at UCI, Michael was the Director of Research Development for the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, and the Director of various grant programs at Rutgers University, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Michael received a B.A. in Communication from Rutgers University, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University.

Dr. Patricia Kempton, Vice-President 2014-2015, President 2015-2018, President Emeritus

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

Wanda Webster Stansbury currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Child and Family Achievement (CCFA). Ms. Webster Stansbury offers a unique perspective on community and economic development. CCFA is one part of a bigger idea that empowering people with the tools and resources to be healthy and free to dream can in turn empower entire communities everywhere. Ms. Webster Stansbury is a problem solver who brings people together to identify common issues and solutions, conduct needs assessments and develop result-driven agendas and public policy initiatives. As a State of New Jersey small business owner for thirty years, Ms. Webster Stansbury has utilized techniques that focus on the design of empowerment models to address the issues of at-risk, under served and emerging populations.

Over the years Ms. Webster Stansbury's research has led to a body of work that reexamines ways to distribute power to support interpersonal and institutional success. Her research in the areas of motivation and leadership, organizational culture and strategy, power and politics, conflict and negotiation, was the basis for a number of white papers and articles including the publication of "Self-Help: The Empowering Process; Breaking the Cycle of Poverty," The Urban Women's Center Model, Cornell University Empowerment Project, Cornell University, New York. This article was based on seminal research she initially conducted for the purpose of co-authoring Assembly Bill A1915, "Urban Women's Center Job Training Act," which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Kean, State of New Jersey. Through CCFA Ms. Webster Stansbury has envisioned a new "self-help" model with children and their parents at the center. This model, the Center for Child and Family Achievement (CCFA), is a continuation of the original vision to break the cycle of poverty.

Lisa G. Kearney 2014- 2018 -Board Member Emeritus

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.

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.

Arnold M. Mayberg, CPA, PC

Arnold Mayberg provides strategic thinking around issues that impact CCFA as a non-profit institution. His adept knowledge as a CPA of compliance, regulatory and operational issues make him a valued resource to all his community based, non-profit and institutional clients. Mr. Mayberg serves as treasurer for the board of Rimon, a Jewish learning center and synagogue in East Windsor. Mr. Mayberg has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants examination staff. His firms' clients include Academicians; entertainment professionals; high net worth clients; as well as working families and individuals. 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. Arnold is a member of the National Society of Tax Professionals.

Brett McCollough 2014-2016 Board Member-Strategic Advisor

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 Ann Ryan

Mary Ann Ryan works with organizations offering expertise on professional managerial challenges that include business operations and relationship management. Ms. Ryan has served and advised other area non-profits that promote self empowerment as a path to long term personally sustainability. Her non-profit advisory relationship include Crawford House, ReStore Habitat of Humanity, and A New Equilibrium Leadership. Ms. Ryan has a B.A. from St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY.

The CCFA Staff

Josephine (Josie) Wright, 2014-2017 Programs Manager Volunteer

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.

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.

God our hope, books our weapon, education our victory!

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