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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
Grantee Profiles

Orange Children and Parents Together

Organization Name Orange Children & Parents Free To Grow Program
State California
Program Profile

For more than 30 years, Orange Children & Parents Together (OCPT) has provided early childhood and family support services to nearly 8,000 at-risk children and families living in the communities of Orange, Tustin, and Garden Grove in Orange County, California.

The target area for OCPT's Free To Grow project is the predominantly Latino community of El Modena, an unincorporated County Island and barrio area with 6,000 residents located within the City of Orange.  El Modena is a pocket of poverty within affluent Orange County.  In this community, OCPT operates three neighborhood-based Child Development Centers that serve approximately 250 children.  Children and families living in El Modena face a host of risk factors, including limited family incomes, a language barrier, high rates of teen pregnancy, high rates of drug sales and abuse, recent legal or illegal immigration mostly from Mexico, gangs and crime, domestic violence, and community norms that support alcohol and drug use.  Extended family networks and a strong sense of family and cultural unity balance out these risks. 

OCPT's Free To Grow partners include the Orange County United Way, Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center, El Modena Family Resource Center, Orange County Sheriff's Department, the local Orange County elementary schools.  Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (a local Head Start success story) and Orange County Supervisor Cynthia Coad are both honorary members of OCPT Free To Grow's governance team.

Many OCPT staff are former Head Start students or parents.  The FTG Project Director is bilingual/bicultural (also a former Head Start child) and has a strong understanding of the issues faced by the families living in the El Modena community. The Head Start parents who are participating in Free To Grow take great pride in the El Modena community and want to help revitalize it.  Free To Grow is training parent leaders as advocates for El Modena so they can work with City Hall, the police, and the sheriff's department to represent the best interests of the community.

For more information, contact Robyn Class at (714) 639-4000 or via email at


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.