The Wilson County Parents as Teachers program is a free educational program offered through a partnership with the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture.
The program is designed to provide information, activities, support and encouragement to parents of children from birth to 5 years old who live in Wilson County.
“What I love about programs like this, one that has always had my heart is that it prevents problems before they occur,” said United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland president John McMillin.
Lebanon Special School District prekindergarten director and instructional coordinator Penny Thompson talked about some of the benefits the schools have seen as a result of the program.
“Over the years, we’ve served lots of families and young ones, and we have coordinated our services with organizations, such as pre-k,” said Thompson. “One of the successes that sticks out in my mind that I want to share with you is about a young family who had two children, and the oldest was in pre-k, and the youngest was 2 years old. The parents started coming to the classes, because they really wanted help. Because of discipline issues, the oldest child wasn’t doing as well as he could. Through the parent classes, they were able to get the help they need, and now the oldest child is in second grade and is thriving. He’s been so successful.”
At the end of the luncheon, Lebanon Special School District child nutrition supervisor Angie Ballard talked about the Neon Bus that began last summer and the upcoming Neon Remix, set to appear soon.
The Neon Bus drove around in the summer and provided Wilson County students with free meals. During the school year, it was converted into a mobile classroom, so teachers could use to get out of the building occasionally.
The Neon Remix will perform the same role as the Neon Bus and will allow the school to give out more meals in the summer.
“We had 7,350 meals served [last summer],” said Ballard. “This year, we have Remix, and we’re going to be going to different sites. We’re going to have 17 total sites, nine of them are feeding sites, and eight of them are drop sites. We’re going to spend about an hour at Don Fox Park, so anybody can come to Don Fox Park and eat with us.”