Parents as Teachers: The Success of a Young Hispanic Family in Cabarrus County
Erika was young when she enrolled in Parents as Teachers (PAT) in 2014. After giving birth to her first child, she and her husband were seeking guidance in parenting and navigating life and desired someone who was bilingual to help them through this overwhelming time in their lives. Erika reached out to PAT and soon Aurora Swain became her family’s bilingual Parent Educator.
Aurora began visiting Erika and her family in their home and together they learned about parenting best practices, developmental milestones for their child, they began setting personal goals, and more. At the time, preschool was not on Erika’s radar, no one in her family had ever attended college, and buying a new home seemed impossible. That would soon change.
Erika’s Parent Educator, Aurora, who is also the Director of Operations at Families First in Cabarrus County, told her about the Cabarrus Bilingual Preschool, and soon her daughter was enrolled into the program. After spending two years at the Cabarrus Bilingual Preschool, their daughter is fully bilingual and is excelling in kindergarten.
Over the course of the last five years in PAT, Erika became the first person in her family to attend college. In Fall 2018, she graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Spanish. She and her husband also achieved something they never thought would be possible when they purchased a new home for their family. When asked, Erika will quickly tell you that she could not see herself accomplishing all these things without the Parents as Teachers program and her relationship with Aurora.
Eventually, the family of three grew to a family of four when they welcomed a son into the world. Just before he was born, Erika invited Aurora and her current Parent Educator, Kathy, to her baby shower. This speaks volumes in the Hispanic community as these events are very familial. Their son, who is now two years old, is shy, enjoys playing and is very bonded with his mom. His developmental screenings were a little different than his sisters, meaning there were some concerns, but he has come a long way. This is often typical with bilingual children. Now he is growing with the usual bilingual delays, and literacy in the home is a big deal. Preschool will be the next step for him, and we know he will thrive!
At a recent home visit, Kathy had a book in English for Erika to read with her son, and her daughter asked if she could read. Kathy was astonished at her reading proficiency. She didn’t miss a word in the entire book, and she was so proud of herself! Erika was looking at Kathy with tears in her eyes. Her children have learned so much from her amazing parenting skills and even more from watching her grow into her own potential as a young woman and mom.
The cost of sponsoring a family like Erika’s for one year is just $70 per month. That investment from our community has allowed Parents as Teachers to serve Erika’s family and many other families in Cabarrus County. Sponsoring a family in PAT will allow us to provide them with a personal Parent Educator who visits their home on a monthly basis. They will receive child developmental screenings, become a part of a larger group who meets once per month, and we will assist and ensure the family has access to health, education, and community resources to thrive.
Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based, voluntary home visiting program that works with expecting families and parents of children ages birth through five to improve parenting practices, increase parent knowledge of child development, provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, prevent child abuse and neglect, and increase children’s school readiness. The program provides information, support and encouragement that all parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.
For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit: www.familiesfirstcc.org/family-services/parents-as-teachers