Parents are children's first teachers, and like any teachers, these educators occasionally need additional support and development to be effective. That's why the PNC Foundation recently funded a program that is designed to help parents better prepare their children for school.
PNC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PNC Bank, awarded $105,155 to the YMCA in Charlotte, N.C., for its Parents as Teachers program. YMCA plans to use the funding to help parents in 25 Charlotte families better prepare their young children, ages 1 to 3, for school in hopes this will improve early educational success and reduce dropout rates. Families served by the Parents as Teachers program must have children currently on the waiting list for Head Start.
Parents as Teachers will provide monthly home visits from certified parent educators to ensure that families are adequately prepared for prekindergarten and kindergarten. The YMCA will partner with the Charlotte-based Bethlehem Center to implement the program.
PNC Foundation awarded these funds as part of its cornerstone early childhood funding program, known as Grow Up Great. Grow Up Great is a $350 million program designed to prepare children ages 1 to 5 for educational success. PNC started the program in 2004 with $250 million and committed an additional $100 million over the next decade. (See IP's guide to PNC grants for early childhood education.)
With studies showing that nearly half of the nation's high school dropouts were academically behind their peers even when they started kindergarten, PNC Foundation and the YMCA view Parents as Teachers as preventive program designed to reduce dropout rates.