Author Archives: Contributor

Nonprofit internships: They may not pay, but they pay off

by Maria Lemakis*

According to Wikipedia, a most reliable source cited by journalists everywhere, a nonprofit organization is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.

Call me naïve, but before my internship at Parents as Teachers, I thought “nonprofit” meant that an organization could not engage in activities that were geared toward providing surplus revenue and therefore, profit.  Little did I know how little I knew!   Here’s what I found out this summer:

  1. Nonprofit internships make an indecisive person more indecisive.  I’m referring to myself when I say “an indecisive person.”  Because nonprofits do not have the resources to hire many positions that a for-profit organization would, a nonprofit employee wears many hats.  So does an intern.  I got to dip my toes in public relations work, social media, multimedia promotion, market research, marketing plan development, interviewing and writing, and Spanish-to-English translation—all in one summer as a marketing communications intern at Parents as Teachers.  Don’t ask me what I want to do with my majors—business and journalism—because now I have further developed experience in both, and unfortunately, I like both.
  1. Nonprofit internships offer meaningful and important assignments.  Don’t put it past your internship supervisor to charge you with coming up with the new organizational structure for the entire headquarters of your organization.  OK, maybe I wasn’t a part of that meaningful project at Parents as Teachers.  But I was privileged with the responsibility of leading and formulating a full marketing plan for one of their training products; it’s a plan that will hopefully be implemented by Parents as Teachers.  I feel like I contributed important work to the organization, work that can eventually lead to a positive impact on families and children.
  1. Nonprofit internships make you feel selfish and fat.  Relax, I mean this in a good way!  Every piece of work that is done at Parents as Teachers is done with the goal of providing professionals with the resources they need to help parents with the development of their young children.  The work they do at the organization is for the families and kids; it’s not to make bonuses and six-figure salaries, like I always thought would be one of my main goals when I am in the workforce.  I’m starting to think it would be a good idea to change that.  A more selfless goal makes for a more meaningful work experience.

On another note, forget the Insanity or P90x workouts you’ve been diligently hacking out this summer; they’ll be cancelled out by sweet people in your organization bringing in sweet treats like Ray’s donuts and coffee cake.  It’s an off day when there’s no half-eaten community container of goodies in the kitchen.  I can’t decide if this was my favorite or least favorite part of the internship…

No matter how many pounds I gained interning at Parents as Teachers, I am positive I gained much more in experience, connections and knowledge.  I can not express my gratitude enough for the time I spent here and the warmth, care and flexibility of all the employees.  I wish them the best in continuing to positively influence policy and families internationally, and I can’t wait to interview for my next internship with the talking points and portfolio pieces I have from this summer.

Thanks, Parents as Teachers!

* Maria Lemakis is a journalism major at University of Missouri. She interned this summer in the communications department at the Parents as Teachers headquarters in St. Louis.

You can help bring us closer to serving more families!

by Maggie Probert

As one of the top home visiting models in the country, Parents as Teachers affiliates bring our services directly to families.

We visit them at their homes to share knowledge and resources that help parents prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in school.

That means our parent educators drive great distances in both urban and rural areas to reach families. We put many miles on our cars, and as fuel prices increase, we spend more and more of our limited budget just getting to families.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have high-mileage hybrid cars to combat higher fuel prices? Well, thanks to Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good campaign, we just might.

Parents as Teachers is among 500 finalists hoping to win a Toyota vehicle. On June 19, we will be one of five organizations featured on the website. If Parents as Teachers receives the highest number of votes that day, we will win a Toyota Camry Hybrid to be used by a local Parents as Teachers affiliate to increase the number of families we are able to reach.

Mark your calendar to vote on June 19 and help us spread the word by sharing this post with your online networks (use our “Share This” buttons below).

Help bring us closer to serving more families.

Vote for Parents as Teachers on June 19!

Vote for Parents as Teachers on June 19!

Parents as Teachers is one of 500 finalists in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program!

Each day for 100 days, five finalists are being profiled at 100 Cars for Good. You can vote for the nonprofit you think can do the most good with a new vehicle; the nonprofit with the most votes at the end of each day will win one of six Toyota models. Runners-up each receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.

Here’s why should you vote for Parents as Teachers on June19:

Expanding home visiting services for children

by Hillary Elliott

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced that an additional $72 million will be distributed to ten states for the expansion and establishment of evidence-based home visiting services. This is the second round of competition for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)funds. 

Six of the ten states receiving this grant will be implementing the Parents as Teachers model, including CO, CT, NJ, PA, TN and WA. These ten states are in addition to the original announcement of 22 states receiving the first round of competitive grants (Parents as Teachers is being implemented in 13 of those states). These competitive funding opportunities are in addition to the formula funding that all 50 states and 6 territories are receiving through the MIECHV initiative.





Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment




State of Connecticut Department of Public Health




Iowa Department of Public Health

Des Moines



Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Public Health




Minnesota Department of Health

St. Paul



New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services




Commonwealth of Pennsylvania




Tennessee Department of Health




Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health




Washington State Department of Early Learning









Will your next CEO be ready?

by Scott Hippert, CEO

How about your next project manager or plant supervisor?

Parents as Teachers works across the nation—in all 50 states to be exact—to build parents’ ability to prepare their young children for school and life success, to close the achievement gap and reduce health care costs.

Why should you care?

This supports the current U.S. workforce while also building a capable workforce for the future.

Last year Parents as Teachers parent educators conducted more than 1.5 million personal visits with families across the country, offering personal in-home visits to engage parents in the development and education of their children, screening of almost 200,000 children for delays, and connecting hundreds of thousands of parents with each other and with resources in their own communities.

With a presence in all 50 states, particularly in rural America, Parents as Teachers mirrors the footprint of corporate America… building the internal capacity of families who are your employees and customers.

As a federally recognized evidence-based program, Parents as Teachers believes all children should learn, grow and develop to realize their full potential.

Here’s where you come in.

We can’t do it alone. Let us know how Parents as Teachers can work with you to build a corporate community investment, employee engagement program, or public/private education partnership. By investing early in the development of children and strengthening their families, we are investing in the future of America.

Start a social justice movement

We often equate the value of early childhood education with school readiness and healthy development but rarely with social justice.

In a New York Times editorial, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas D. Kristof, did just that! In a piece titled “Occupy the Classroom,” Kristof  suggests that quality early childhood education addresses the “structural inequality that many young children never get the skills to compete.”

He states, “One common thread, whether I’m reporting on poverty in New York City or in Sierra Leone, is that a good education tends to be the most reliable escalator out of poverty. Whether in America or Africa, disadvantaged kids often don’t get a chance to board that escalator.”

Wrong way

He cites scholars and economists, including James Heckman who spoke at the Missouri Business Leaders Summit sponsored by Parents as Teachers, who note the economic value of early childhood education. This isn’t new information; we’ve known this for decades. The question is, do we have the collective will to reach out to families and close the achievement gap—not just at kindergarten but throughout life—for disadvantaged children?

Will you spread this message and help create a movement for social justice for children?

Photo credit: xcode’s photostream under Creative Commons license

He moved us from high-touch to high-tech

by Richard Wollenberger

Steve Jobs died yesterday.

I never met him. I’m not sure if I’ve even been in the same room as him. I was at a product introduction speech at Macworld in 2003, but I don’t remember if Steve was the keynote speaker at that expo.

But Steve changed my life.

I was a senior in college when the now-famous 1984 commercial aired during the Superbowl. The next year I was working as a booking agent for small performing arts talent agency in New York city when our secretary sent the wrong contract out for a show and caused a huge ruckus.

I told the boss we should get a computer so we could keep track of all our stuff better. He sent me out shopping. My conclusion: buy a Macintosh. I was convinced that, combined with two other new things—desktop publishing and a laser printer—we could keep track of everything and even create some of our own marketing material!

(Side note: That boss told me he wouldn’t buy anything from Apple because his friend in California said they wouldn’t be around in 5 years. Today Apple has one of the highest market cap’s in the country and over $80 BILLION in the bank. I guess he was wrong!)

I worked with my first Mac in February 1987, and I was hooked. Next Wednesday will mark my 24th anniversary in the computer business, and I have loved it from the beginning. Steve Jobs is why. He had the vision that everyone could (and would) use a computer. But only if they were easy to use.

Photo courtesy Alan Light via Creative Commons license

If you don’t think he was right consider this: how many of you either own or have owned an Apple I, II, IIe, IIc, IIgs, Lisa, or a Macintosh computer? How about an iMac, iPod, iPhone, or iPad?

Apple didn’t invent the personal computer; Apple just made it personal. And they didn’t invent portable music players, cell phones, smartphones, or tablet computers; they made them better than anyone else. And they made them easy to use.

That first time I used a Mac made me realize that there were a world of possibilities that I could grasp if I worked hard enough. Thanks in large part to Steve Jobs, even the smallest kids today are connected via technology to a world of information their parents could only imagine. Technology is part of our everday lives. Part of the job of Parents as Teachers is to help parents guide that connection in appropriate ways.

I’ve been fortunate to have some good teachers in the past 24 years, but the vision that drove Steve Jobs, and therefore Apple, allowed me to flourish and really enjoy the work I do every single day. Even the difficult ones.

Today Steve Jobs is being hailed as the Thomas Edison of our time.

So, thank you, Steve, for inspiring me to “Think Different” and to enjoy my life’s work.

Richard Wollenberger is IT Director at Parents as Teachers national office.
Photo used under kenfagerdotcom’s photostream  via Creative Commons License