A Juneau-based nonprofit organization was one of four groups announced as Parents as Teachers grant award recipients Thursday morning by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
The Association for the Education of Young Children, Southeast Alaska, received the single largest award of the four organizations to receive PAT funding from the State of Alaska, with $150,000 per year set to be given as a three-year grant supporting its program.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this to families in Juneau,” said Joy Lyon, the AEYC-SEA’s executive director. “There’s been a lot of demand for it in the first year that we’ve launched it, and we’ve seen great success.”
The AEYC-SEA, which was founded in 1982, started a pilot PAT program last November and currently serves 20 Juneau families, Lyon said.
Parents as Teachers was founded in Missouri during the 1980s and has since expanded to have affiliates in all 50 states and several other countries. It provides a model and curriculum for early childhood development and education focusing, as its name suggests, on educating parents of young children about how to address their needs.
“The Parents as Teachers name says it all,” said Lyon. “Parents are the first and best teachers of their young children.”
With the grant money, Lyon said, “We will be serving 60 families with (twice) monthly home visits that include activities for early learning for the children, includes support for the family’s well-being and also provides information about child development.”
The AEYC-SEA is currently hiring for two parent educator positions, Lyon said.
Once those educators are hired and trained, Lyon added, “We’ll be accepting new families starting in November.”
The group’s PAT program also benefits from a Youth Activities grant it received from the City and Borough of Juneau earlier this year, Lyon added.
“In addition to the visits, each family can participate in group connections where they get to meet other parents in the program once a month,” Lyon said. “Those have been really popular.”
Thanks to the $12,500 one-year CBJ grant, the AEYC-SEA is able to hold those “monthly parent nights” at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center, according to Lyon. That grant serves the AEYC-SEA’s Turf for Tots program as well.
The PAT program at the DEED is a new one. Phyllis Carlson, a member of the Juneau School District Board of Education who served until recently as rural education director with the department, was tapped earlier this summer to be the state’s first Parents as Teachers program coordinator.
“I think they’re a very solid organization,” said Carlson of the AEYC-SEA. “They obviously had a good plan and want to do meaningful work.”
The three other programs that received PAT awards are Anchorage-based Kids’ Corps, Inc., which will receive $143,244 per year; Anchorage-based RurAL CAP, which will receive $107,792 per year; and Homer-based Sprout Family Services, which will receive $100,000 per year.
Carlson said there were eight applications, which were read through and scored by three reviewers on such rubrics as “quality of program design” and “adequacy of resources.” The AEYC-SEA, Kids’ Corps, RurAL CAP and Sprout Family Services emerged as winners.
“The state says that these are the top quality proposals,” Carlson explained. “They went through the process, and this is what they considered the highest-scoring, and so the winning, proposals.”
She added, “We’re happy to have them beginning work and serving the community.”
There is a public protest period before the awards are officially given. Assuming there is no protest, the awards are set to be made Oct. 15.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.