Zeno With Community: Summer Update

In the fall of 2018, Zeno launched a new program called Zeno with Communitybased on our Community and Family Math Co-creation Process. This program takes a look at what it means to begin a partnership with a community new to Zeno, and what it means to deeply engage, and co-create, with communities. This helped Zeno continuously uplift the voice of the community. 

Through Zeno’s Community and Family Math Co-creation Process, families and partners have been given the space to share throughout the partnership 

    1. How they value math in their community, 
    2. What makes a strong partnership for them 
    3. How they are already doing math in their communities, and  
    4. What barriers they face when it comes to supporting their children with math  

At the end of each round, Zeno works with the community to see what they can continue to do to improve the program for them and future partners. The response from partners to this new program has been overwhelmingly positive and we have now begun a waitlist for new partners! Below are stories from three of these partners. 

Supporting Oromo Families in Seattle

Last summer, Zeno began a new partnership with Horn of Africa Services (HOAS) to reach home-based childcare sites serving Oromo families living in King County. Before beginning this partnership, Zeno held numerous family discussion groups to better understand the needs and interests of the Oromo community, translated all games and materials into Oromo, and offered customized trainings for childcare providers around supporting math learning based on feedback from a HOAS Specialist. Zeno heard over and over again how “surprised” and “pleased” childcare providers were that training would be offered in their native language! To date, eighty families have received Zeno games across eight childcare sites. These include, Find Zeno Bear, Measure Me, What’s First, Peek-A-Dino, and Building Bridges.  

When we reached out recently to see how families have been doing during the pandemic, we learned that many local Oromo families have been protesting the recent unrest that has hit Ethiopia lately. In solidarity with these efforts, we would like to share more information and encourage everyone to stay informed on ways to help. To learn more about the protests use these hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter #OromoProtest #OromoRevolution #FreeJawarMohamed. This YouTube video offers helpful insight into why Oromos have been protesting. 

Renton Innovation Zone Partnership

In June, Zeno synced up with the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership  (RIZP) to explore ways to bring math play and learning to early learners and kindergarteners in the Renton area. Through this partnership we made a connection with the Renton School District who identified 850 children in the 3-5 age range. We then mailed Zeno math games directly to each of their families. As part of Zeno’s commitment to working with community, Zeno looks to organizations who have built history and trust with families for direction. As Zeno Community + Family Program Manager, Juan Manuel Flores Jr, shared “we want to honor that [these organizations] have relationships in the area and it is new for us. This way it will help us establish more of a Math Community.” The Zeno team is continuing to meet with RIZP’s Early Learning Action Team to determine how we can best serve more families in the Renton Area going forward. 

Central District Families Receive Early Learning Kits

This past spring, 171 families living in the Central District began receiving Zeno math games, library books, art supplies, and more as part of a grant to the Seattle University Youth Initiative to help fill the void left by closures of early learning programs due to COVID-19. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Seattle University, the Seattle Housing Authority, Bailey-Gatzert Elementary, and CISC to reach new families this summer. We are currently exploring ways to build upon this initiative this fall.

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