Children’s Council receives $50,000 grant from the Sisters of Mercy NC Foundation to expand Parents as Teachers program | Local News

BOONE — The Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc. has received a grant from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation to expand the Parents as Teachers program.

Parents as Teachers is a long term home visiting program available for families of children birth to age three in Watauga County. The program utilizes trained parent educators to provide family support, parent education and developmental assessments to ensure children are meeting important developmental milestones.

“This program along with all of our others is building what we call a continuum of care and choices for parents of young children in our community,” says Elisha Childers, Executive Director of the Children’s Council.

The Children’s Council offers a power packed lineup of programs and services for families beginning when parents are expecting, at the birth, and until the child is twelve. The primary focus is in early childhood (birth to age five), supporting families and fostering young children’s healthy growth and development.

Parents as Teachers is the newest program in this lineup. Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based parent education and family support program. The Parents as Teachers program upholds parents as their child’s first and best teacher. Trained parent educators and early childhood development specialists provide home visits where they offer individualized parent education where parents learn about their child’s development, get answers to important parenting questions and hone their parenting skills. Every child receives an annual developmental assessment to ensure children are meeting important developmental milestones, and monthly group meetings are provided with other families with like-aged children. The Children’s Council staff also help families connect to other community services if needed.

Every parent has questions when a new baby arrives and every parent needs some level of support. The Children’s Council offers information, programs and services for parents.

“When I was a new parent, I had questions and I was reading everything I could about child development so I was informed and responsive as a parent,” Childers said. “Despite having focused on child development in college, I was full of questions when I had a real live baby. All parents do. This program is like having your own personal parenting coach who is there to focus with you on your baby and to help you be the best parent possible.”

“The Children’s Council launched the Parents as Teachers program in the Fall of 2021. The grant from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation will allow us to hire a bi-lingual Parent Educator who can also serve our community’s Spanish-speaking families.”

The Children’s Council provides programs and services to support children in their first years of life. Services that benefit young children require support for the adults who care for them. The Children’s Council offers services that include parent education classes, individualized parenting support, home-visiting programs, parent support groups a resource library and a diaper bank. In addition to our support for families, it also provides support to early childhood educators who provide care for children while their parents work; and early childhood literacy programs: Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Raising a Reader.

“Basically, if you are parenting or caring for a young child, we are here to help,” says Childers. “The Parents as Teachers program is an extraordinary support for families. We are thankful to have received this support from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation to serve more families in the high country.”

The Children’s Council of Watauga County has been serving children and families in Watauga County for forty-five years. The mission is to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development by strengthening families, the early childhood system, and the community. To learn more, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org or visit us at 225 Birch Street, Suite 2 Boone, NC 28607.

The Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation invests in ecumenical, collaborative and multi-cultural non-profit organizations whose missions are consistent with the Sisters of Mercy, whose expertise The Children’s Council respects, and which effect positive change for individuals and families and the systems that impact them. Consistent with the values of the Foundation, the Foundation supports organizations which serve with compassion and respect for the dignity of each person. To learn more, visit www.somncfdn.org/.