The Dexter/Richland/Bloomfield Parents as Teachers organization provides information, support, and encouragement to parents as they help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years.

Bootheel Babies and Families recently awarded them a $35,000 grant that will help expand the program. Melanie Stoelting, a coordinator with PAT, shares her thoughts on how her organization and the families they serve will benefit.

What does PAT do for families in Dexter, Richland, and Bloomfield?

PAT is a free program for prenatal parents and children ages birth through Kindergarten entry that provides support through four components:

  • Personal visits in the home or at school, where we look at baby’s development and talk about simple things parents can do to encourage their little ones be ready for school
  • Free health, hearing, vision and development screenings
  • Group Connections, which provides opportunities to connect with other families through fun activities
  • Resource referrals, which helps our families connect with resources in the school and local community to help them meet the diverse needs of their children

Why did you apply for the grant through Bootheel Babies and Families?

Our vision is to reach more families. I feel like we’re already doing a great job with parent education, but recruitment has been down because of Covid.

How are you going to use the $35,000 you received?

We have a goal of reaching at least 50 more families, and we plan to do that by partnering with the medical community via WIC and in doctors’ offices. We’re doing outreach to those potential sources so they can know more about PAT and refer families to us.

We’re giving families a $10 Wal-Mart card for each visit they schedule and attend. We’re also giving a stiped to our parent educators. We’ve embedded a little more meat into the learning they’re sharing, so they’re also getting a $10 stipend on top of their salary for a typical visit because they’re spending a little more time with the families. They’re giving more information, doing more documentation, and conducting pre- and post-surveys with the families.