The Home Visiting Supervisors Institute (HVSI) is an opportunity for supervisors of evidence-based and evidence-informed early childhood home visiting programs to learn, network, and strengthen their supervisory skills. Every year, home visiting supervisors especially appreciate the opportunity to physically connect with their peers. Although this year’s institute had to be held virtually on Zoom, the HVSI organizers speakers put an emphasis on replicating the excitement, connection, and education shared in previous years’ in-person summits.

Made possible by Strong Families AZ in partnership with the Department of Child Safety, First Things First, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, the event inspired and energized home visitors as they support families in these challenging times. Topics included education on the relationship between tobacco use and vulnerable communities; 21st-century marijuana threats infants in utero; how epigenetics proves that our DNA is not our destiny; and how to navigate compassionate confrontation as a supervisor.

Attendees also participated in fun activities that allowed them to express themselves and connect with others in small groups. An impressive materials package was sent to attendees’ homes in preparation for Blooming Intentions, an activity that asks attendees to find positive words in magazines and use them to create art.

In the closing activity, attendees created a Six-Word Story of their Covid-19 experiences. With all the ways the pandemic has affected our lives, how do you narrow your narrative to just six words? Below are a few stellar examples from HVSI attendees. Some inspire, while others elicit a chuckle!

  • She knew how lucky she was
  • I will not break, I’ll thrive!
  • Try Zoom they said. It’s fun!
  • First I Fell. Then I Grew.
  • “Mom, we are out of snacks.”
  • Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.

Attendees reported feeling that they were still “able to express themselves” and connect with supervisors around the state. A goal of this supervisor training is for leaders to share what they learned with the home visitors they supervise. According to one attendee, she cannot wait to do just that: “I am taking back so much to share and grow with.”