Community Parenting Support Saturation Project


SPARK Aurora

SPARK Aurora (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) is a Fox Valley United Way education initiative connecting families with limited access in Aurora with early education and child care opportunities.

SPARK was selected to implement the CPSS framework and to lead early childhood community collaboration in the Aurora and Kane County regions in Illinois.

Visit the SPARK Aurora website

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SPARK Aurora’s Initiatives Empower Families for Lifelong Success

SPARK Aurora is dedicated to fostering a thriving community through community collaborations and innovative, human-centered design. By influencing social policy and coordinating resources for parents, SPARK Aurora is cultivating powerful collaborations that shape the future trajectory of children’s lives. Through their initiatives, SPARK Aurora is raising awareness on the importance of early childhood development in laying the groundwork for lifelong success.

SPARK Aurora has implemented several parenting initiatives including texting platforms, marketing efforts, parent cafes, and Opening Doors workshops to engage parents. SPARK Aurora is leveraging its Gateway Family Interview Strategy to help families navigate enrollment in early childhood programs with personalized support.

Strategies & Progress


Tier 1

Bright by Text

An evidence-based text messaging platform, Bright by Text sends over 300 enrolled parents tips on child development using the ages of their over 400 children to customize messages.

Bright Beginnings

Collaborating with local hospitals and clinics, SPARK Aurora is using Bright Beginnings to build a bridge between pediatrics and early childhood for children ages 0 to 3 in Aurora. Bright Beginnings includes community baby showers, newborn bags, infant & toddler playgroups, a birth-to three-coalition, and a healthcare provider roundtable.

Community Outreach & Marketing

Raising awareness in the community about the importance of early learning, SPARK has knocked on over 8,000 doors to date through initiatives like its Countdown to Kindergarten campaign.

Tier 2

The Basics

Using the Be Strong World Café model, SPARK reached over 700 attendees at 35+ cafes to teach concepts from The Basics and the Protective Factors, two public campaign frameworks that support early learning and social-emotional well-being.

Opening Doors

An evidence-based program originally developed for Spanish-speaking parents with young children, called Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, uses a two-generation approach to build parent leadership skills and knowledge to promote family well-being and positive outcomes for children. SPARK has run two cohorts in Spanish and one in English.

Play.Learn.Connect Play Groups

An opportunity for families with children birth to five to learn about and interact with community agencies and programs, Play.Learn.Connect play groups have engaged over 2,800 parents and children to date, providing a strong pathway into SPARK programs and services. With over 100 Playgroups to date, they have increasingly become a tool to engage fathers in early learning engagement as families can drop in whenever they’re available.

Tier 3

Gateway Family Intake

Since 2021, SPARK has administered over 450 Gateway Intakes, providing Aurora families access to a wide range of necessary resources and services. Leveraging connections from Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports, families are introduced to take the intake which directly promotes free developmental screenings and referrals to home-visiting, Early and Head Start, early intervention, and childcare. SPARK plans on intensifying their Tier 3 intervention through dedicating more time and staff to home visiting and referrals. In addition to increasing access to necessary resources, Gateway Intake provides high level data around community needs and a direct connection to CPSS Tier 1 and 2 initiatives. Leveraging relationships built in Tiers 1 and 2, SPARK’s Gateway Family Intake invites families to complete free developmental screenings and referrals to home-visiting, early and Head Start, early intervention, and child care programs.

What’s Next

SPARK is working to build a sustainable infrastructure for the program offerings implemented through the CPSS framework. They are leveraging existing partnerships to build out the Bright Beginnings support and bringing on more consultants and trainers to offer Tier 2 programs. As more Tier 2 offerings become available, SPARK will be leveraging these parent programs as opportunities to gather parent feedback and foster parent leadership around early childhood offerings in the community.

SPARK is also implementing a shortened Gateways intake for Tier 2 participants and following up with each family to inquire about completing the full interview to receive additional resources and referrals. This new data collection helps track how families move through SPARK services and will create a bridge between Tier 2 offerings and Tier 3 referrals.

Make A Difference In Aurora, Illinois

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Community Partners

Share information about our program, join community-based initiatives such as Bright Beginnings, and attend Opening Doors trainings.

For more information, email:

Rosaisela Sida

Director of Early Childhood Initiatives

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Funding Partners

You can support Aurora’s littlest learners. Become a funding partner and help sustain our efforts in Aurora, Illinois!

FOr more information, email:

Alexander Bui

Director of the Community Parenting Support Saturation Program

Aziza Hummeid

Program Manager