Free program helps Philly-area parents become their child's 'first teacher'

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, September 1, 2023
Free program helps parents become their child's 'first teacher'
The Kutest Kids' Parents as Teachers program gives moms and dads a coach and a game plan while raising their children.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I had no idea about the experience of childbirth at all," said Jasmine Jackson. "And now, we have a cute little baby boy."

Jasmine Jackson and Mark Matthews are the proud parents of 6-month-old Malakhi Matthews.

The new parents from Southwest Philadelphia had a lot to figure out on their own. But while attending a community baby shower hosted by a local church, they were introduced to the Kutest Kids' Parents as Teachers Program (KKPAT).

"They have a parent coach come out and meet with you," said Jackson. "They'll go over your baby's milestones."

Kutest Kids, a local early intervention organization, became an affiliate of the worldwide "Parents as Teachers" curriculum last year.

Through it, family empowerment coach Josmary Reyes partnered up with Jackson and Matthews. The Somerdale, New Jersey, native is currently expecting twins herself.

"We visit our families about twice a month and during that time, we'll talk about developmental milestones and how we can help them along the way," said Reyes.

In addition to providing coaching, reading materials, and fun activities, coaches also help connect parents with resources around the community.

Just a few months ago, Kutest Kids created the KKPAT Store, where families can use a special currency to redeem helpful products.

"Our families get KKPAT Cash when the coaches come out to do their twice a month visits," said KKPAT Executive Director Vonee Hill. "And when we have our stores up and running, the families are able to get the things that they need like diapers, wipes, bottles, car seats, things like that."

To learn more about how to enroll in, work for, or volunteer with the Kutest Kids' Parents as Teachers Program, visit their website.

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