The Thriving Families Working Group helps give families the knowledge and resources they need to nurture their children. Attention is placed on the family’s critical role in their child’s development.

We seek to ensure that all families possess:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parent and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Socaially and emotionally competent children
  • Nurturing relationships and strong attachment to their children


Current Priorities:

  • Facilitate focus groups with parents to identify family needs and challenges.
  • Promote so families can find and use Hampton Roads resources.
  • Align parent education programs across the region so parents can easily find them.

“The Minus 9 to 5 initiative is committed to understanding the unmet and recurring needs of families with young children – and in only a short time, has identified clear pathways for wide-ranging, community impact.”

Brenda Garrett,

Thriving Families – Group Members:

  • Mary Allsbrook, Christian Broadcasting Network
  • Elizabeth Batista-Boone, VB Human Services Department
  • Anne Bruehl, Children’s Center
  • Jennifer Brown, Suffolk Libraries
  • Julie Dixon, The Planning Council
  • Navine Fortune, Norfolk State University Child Development Lab
  • Brenda Garrett, Kids Priority One
  • Sharon Houston, Garden of Hope Gethsemane Baptist Church
  • Christy John, Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network
  • Dranika Kelley, Portsmouth Child Protective Services
  • Bari Kraus, Square One
  • Tracie Kunkle, Norfolk Public Schools
  • Andrea Long, Up Center
  • Brenda O’Donnell, Suffolk Early Childhood Commission
  • Natalie Riley, Portsmouth Department of Social Services, Foster Care
  • Michele Tryon, CHKD–HRPEN Parent Education Network
  • Elexia Washington, Portsmouth Redevelopment And Housing Authority