Category Archives: Program news

Savoring a good cause

Holy smokes, the Abstrakt Art Gallery was rockin’ in Saturday night! That’s when the MyMommyManual ladies, Ria, Suzanne, and Maggie, coordinated a companion event to BlogHer09, the Chicago conference for women bloggers. It was simulcast with similar events around the country Saturday night to the BlogHer conference. The St. Louis ladies chose to have the proceeds donated to Parents as Teachers.

Pierre from Bevitoré Wine Boutique offered tastes of extraordinary wines, complemented by outstanding delicacies from Kakao Chocolate. Art and a silent auction of paintings by Paco Rosic set the stage for a group of Tango dancers during the evening.

Parents as Teachers supports enjoy Swirl Sip & Savor
Parents as Teachers supporters enjoy Swirl Sip & Savor

But the most amazing part of the evening was that not a single invitation was printed or mailed. This gallery full of people connected through social networks to enjoy friends, mingle and oh, by the way, support a great cause: Parents as Teachers.

Thanks, Ria, Suzanne, Maggie, Pierre from Bevitoré Wine Boutique, the staff of Kakao Chocolate, Abstrakt Art Gallery and Paco Rosic, and Tango instructor Michael Flanagan!

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Keeping families healthy

By Jan Lee

St. Anthony’s Medical Center’s Charitable Foundation awarded Bayless Parents as Teachers program a grant for $3,600 to sponsor a Speaker Series for the program’s parent group meetings. William Morris, MD., Section Chief of Hematology and Oncology at St. Anthony’s, along with Jeff Randal, Executive Director, St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation, presented the check at the Board Meeting on January 21, 2009. The partnership with St. Anthony’s has allowed this prpogram to provide speakers on The Biology of Autism, Nutrition and Childhood Obesity, and Parenting 911 among others.

Refreshments and free babysitting were also made possible through the grant and a different topic was presented each month. We are very excited to have been given the opportunity to bring in some of the top speakers in our area to meet with our families. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation. Thank you St. Anthony’s!

Who needs Parents as Teachers?

Yesterday I stopped by the bank. While waiting for the computer to pull up my account, my customer service rep Bryant and I chatted. “Where do you work?” he asked. When I told him National Center for Parents as Teachers he exclaimed, “Our parent educator just came yesterday!” It started us on a longer exchange about kids and parenting.

Bryant’s wife has her doctorate degree and works at the high school level with challenging students. “She really appreciates Parents as Teachers,” Bryant told me. “Because her background is at the other end of the educational spectrum, she’s not as well versed in early development. Despite her degree and her profession, this is all new to her. We’ve both learned a lot from Parents as Teachers.”

I urged him and his wife to tell their stories in the StoryFront form on the Parents as Teachers Web site. It’s just the kind of thing decision-makers need to hear.

You can listen to some of the recorded stories here.

Do more with less has its limits!

Last month in Jefferson City, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told education groups, including the Missouri School Boards’ Association, “I also think we need to have greater investment in early childhood education; Parents as Teachers, First Steps and many other programs of that nature, making sure that kids are ready to learn when they get to school that first time.”

Easy to say, harder to do.

The Chairman of the Missouri House Budget Committee has proposed that the Committee cut Parents as Teachers program funding by 10% for the upcoming fiscal year. If enacted, this would reduce the current $34.3 million budget for the state’s 524 Parents as Teachers programs by $3.4 million.

In addition, the Chairman has proposed that the professional development funds that support parent educators’ regional training and recertification be totally eliminated. All of this results in fewer families served, fewer home visits, fewer screenings and fewer overall services for Missouri children. What a strange way to “make sure kids are ready to learn when they get to school that first time!”

Governor Nixon, Mr. Chairman and Missouri legislators: restore funding for Parents as Teachers to the current level of $34.3 million so Parents as Teachers can work properly!

 

If you have a legislator on the Budget Committee below, let them know how you feel about this.

Allen Icet, chair
Rick, vice-chair
Rachel Bringer
Mark Bruns
Chris Carter
Mike Cunningham
Shalonn Curls
Mike Dethrow
Sally Faith
Tom Flanigan
Stream

Belinda Harris
Steve Hobbs
Denny Hoskins
John Hughes
Jason Kander
Chris Kelly
Sam Komo
Sara Lampe
Rebecca McClanahan
James Morris

David Sater
Rob Schaaf
Dwight Scharnhorst
Charles Schlottach
Ryan Silvey
Rachel Storch
Mike Thomson
Jay Wasson
Ed Wildberger

For specific contact information, refer to http://www.senate.mo.gov/llookup/leg_lookup.aspx.

 

Stopping delinquency before it starts

I’m currently attending a New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Delinquency Prevention.   Conference planners invited Parents as Teachers to talk about how we prevent kids from becoming involved in delinquent behavior.  My co-presenter (who did a terrific job) was Michelle LaRue who provides Parents as Teachers services to teenage moms at FamCare, Inc., here in New Jersey.

If you thought our outcomes were limited to school readiness, think again. It’s very clear that kids who test better in third grade are not as likely to wind up in jail as adults.  No great leap to know that those who start school well-equipped to learn are more likely to avoid delinquency.  It was a good thought exercise to apply a different frame to the work we do.

I would love to hear how other folks make this connection to funders and decision-makers.

Parent educator from Hannibal, Mo. adds to U.S. Senate briefing on pre-K

Diane Addison has seen it all in the Parents as Teachers program she oversees in Mark Twain‘s hometown. Her program brings parent education services to all kinds of families, from the time they find out they’re going to have a baby until their child enters kindergarten.

In this state, where free Parents as Teachers services are offered to all residents through their school districts, about half of all age-eligible families take advantage of it. In Addison’s area, participation is closer to 75%. So she was uniquely qualified to tell the U.S. Senate earlier this week how families benefit from early childhood programs and preschool.

Diane Addison at U.S. Senate briefing on preK

Diane Addison at U.S. Senate briefing on preK

She was invited to share her insights by Senators Kit Bond and Hillary Rodham Clinton, co-sponsors of the Ready to Learn Act designed to provide funding to states to provide voluntary pre-K programs. Many states already have pre-K programs established; this bill would have provided support for those that do not.

The bill didn’t pass.

Waiting for Parents as Teachers

Twenty Kansas families are on the waiting list for Parents as Teachers services in and around Clay Center, according to an article in The Dispatch On-line. Apparently funding has not kept pace with the demand for services, so at least 20 families are missing out on home visits from parent educators who could be bringing them information on their children’s development…group meetings where they could be learning from other parents…and early childhood screenings which could be detecting health, hearing, vision and developmental delays.

Sure, some of these families might find similar services elsewhere, such as Early Head Start. But as program supervisor Laurie Logan noted, her Parents as Teachers program has no income qualifiers. As a result, all kinds of families are involved: from teachers and business people to teen moms. None of them received an instruction manual with their child!

It’s great that the Kansas Board of Education and local school districts provide basic funding. But when 20 families in this area alone are waiting for services, what other funding resources might be tapped?