History and Programs

Founded in 2011

Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative (LPCFC) became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2011, founded by a group of education, child development, health, and social service professionals concerned about the closing of the Lincoln Park School. After the school closed, LPCFC held focus groups and completed a needs assessment, which then led to a plan for restoring early childhood and parent education services in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Family support became a central strategy of LPCFC as families first gathered at Rock Hill Community Church, located across the street from the former school, and formed a parent group.

In 2014, LPCFC secured a permanent space, Suite 108, in the former Lincoln Park School, now called Lincoln Park Commons, and have squarely set ourselves within the fabric of the Lincoln Park community. It is our intention to participate in a restorative community process by supporting places for families to gather, enjoy healthy food, and participate in child/parent education, prevention, and support.

Our programming is held with the understanding that young children experience their world as an environment of relationships, and that these relationships affect all aspects of their development. Because infants and toddlers grow and learn in complex family and community systems, we promote healthy early childhood development and relationships that focus on the whole child. We also work to address the longstanding family and community challenges that contribute to disparities in early life outcomes.

Our mission is to strengthen the Lincoln Park community by connecting families who care about young children. We have a vision of creating social connectedness by gathering families in a safe, welcoming place, showing support, spreading kindness, encouraging change from the inside out, respecting ourselves and each other, and having pride in our neighborhood. We are dedicated to supporting children, youth, and families who live in Lincoln Park within the context of our communities. We focus our efforts on Bronfenbrenner’s child-family-agency-community model to cultivate an ecosystem for healthy child development and provide a sense of safety and security for Lincoln Park area families.

MONDAY NIGHT FAMILY GATHERING: Our program activities revolve around our premise of whole-family programming. Currently, we have two-parent, single-parent, extended family, and caregiver involvement at our Monday Night Family Gatherings, which are held from 5-6:30PM. We gather for one hour of programming, sometimes with adults and children gathering separately and sometimes with families gathering together. After programming, we share a meal; the dinners include, but are not limited to families, board directors, staff, volunteers, and guests. It’s a chance for us to get to know each other, growing our friendships, and building cross-cultural relationships and social connectedness over time.

Children’s Programming engages children, ranging in ages 0-11, in age-appropriate organized play and educational activities. We focus on Art and Cultural activities, Early Literacy, Health and Nutrition, Social-Emotional Development, and Commercial Tobacco Prevention. We collaborate with Robi Meyerson to offer Children’s Music and with Jonathan Thunder to work on Fine Arts Painting skills. We offer Super Stretch Yoga and each week we try new foods with our Eating the Alphabet Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z activity. We have two staff that teach Anishinaabe Cultural Programming; the children learn about the 7 Grandmother and Grandfather Teachings, the Medicine Wheel, which includes the traditional use of tobacco, 7 Sacred Animals and their Anishinaabe names, Pow Wow music and Jingle Dresses, Harvesting Wild Rice, Making Maple Syrup, and other Anishinaabe teachings, including language.

Our Parent Group is a Chartered Circle of Parents in collaboration with Minnesota Communities Caring for Children (MCCC). MCCC offers us technical assistance and training opportunities for our board, staff, and parents; training topics include: Adverse Childhood Experiences, 5 Protective Factors, and Strategic Story Sharing. In 2015, the parents planned a new community event in the Lincoln Park/Miller Creek park called Music in Lincoln Park. The event was a hit and we then received grant funding to host three more events during the summer of 2016. In 2016, we also took on the planning of a 2-year old event called Meet on the Street, which took place in July; the event was well attended with positive feedback from 87 attendees who filled out our evaluation survey. We received many earned media stories regarding the events and have included links to the news stories under the NEWS tab on our website: www.lpcfc.org.

CIRCLE OF SECURITY CLASSES: In September of 2014, we began a collaboration with Community Action Duluth to offer Circle of Security classes in our space.  The Circle of Security classes are designed to intervene early in the mental health of children and to prevent stress between caregivers and children by increasing their attachment, connection, and communication. The skills of parents and caregivers increase in order to meet their children’s needs. In March of 2016, our Circle of Security class received a Promising Practices Award from The University of Minnesota, DHS Office of Economic Opportunity, and Minnesota Community Action Partnership.

EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICE COLLABORATIONS: In 2014, Duluth Public Schools ISD #709 started hosting Early Childhood Screening in our space twice a year, once in September and once in March.

COMMUNITIES ELIMINATING TOBACCO INEQUITIES (CETI) AWARD: In 2015, we were awarded a CETI contract with the Center of Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The timeframe for the contract is October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2018. The focus areas of our work are: Community Education on Tobacco and Creating Healthy Community Settings. As part of our Community Education efforts on this project, we:

  • work on embedding commercial tobacco education and prevention into our Monday Night Family Gathering (MNFG) program, including our larger community events
  • have a small media campaign that features three words: Keep Tobacco Sacred
  • have developed a collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland Lincoln Park Branch where our staff work with the kids at their space once a week to talk about commercial tobacco education and prevention

As part of our Creating Healthy Community Settings efforts in our CETI project, we work with Lincoln Park based organizations, including our own, to assist them in creating Commercial Tobacco-Free Workplace policies that include commercial tobacco free grounds, as well as creating healthy spaces in and around their organizations for employees, contractors, volunteers, and community members to enjoy. In 2016, we worked with the City of Duluth and the Duluth Community Garden Program to build ten community garden plots, a pollinator garden, and a demonstration medicine garden, in the shape of a turtle, at Harrison Park. As part of this work, we will continue to develop the gardens and plan to offer programming on site. Our investment in Harrison Park leveraged a $2500 contribution from Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation and  released $90,000 in match funding from the City of Duluth that will be used to complete other projects listed in the Harrison Park Mini Master Plan.