Parenting is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Parenting is an incredible journey, filled with ups and downs, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. That’s where the Bluebonnet Trails Parents as Teachers (PAT) program comes in – to lend a helping hand to parents as they navigate the exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, world of raising children. The Parents as Teachers program is an optional, parent-choice program that provides tools, resources, and education to parents so they can feel supported as they navigate the challenges of raising their children.
“The partnership between Bastrop County Cares and Bluebonnet Trails Parents as Teachers program has been a powerful tool for Bastrop County parents,” says Chris Lott, Director of Early Childhood Programs at BCC.
“As a result of going through the program, parents are able to prevent child abuse, identify and understand factors in their child’s development, and learn and implement practices for their family’s well-being.”
The PAT program is facilitated by an amazing team of dedicated Parent Educators who are passionate about helping parents help their children. Together, these Parent Educators have more than four decades of combined experience working with children and families.
Meet the Parent Educators
The Parents as Teachers program is made up of compassionate individuals who truly care about supporting parents. Elizabeth Sizemore, Danielle Hunt, Miriam Blanco, and Aubrey Bennett currently make up the incredible team of Parent Educators.
Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development and a master’s degree in Child Life, specializing in Trauma-Based Child Development. She brings her expertise and genuine care to every interaction, helping parents navigate challenging situations with confidence.
Danielle has an impressive 16 years of experience in child education and child care. She’s seen it all and knows just how to guide parents through the twists and turns of parenthood. Her wealth of knowledge is invaluable in supporting families on their journey.
Miriam, a bilingual parent educator, has worked in early childhood education for a decade. What makes her truly special is that she started as a parent in the program itself. She understands firsthand the challenges and joys of parenting and is ready to walk alongside parents on this incredible adventure.
Aubrey focuses on supporting teen parents within the school district. With four and a half years of experience working with teen parents, she understands the unique challenges these parents face. Her dedication and passion shine through as she helps young parents graduate from high school, pursue higher education, and secure jobs, all while raising their children.
We believe in celebrating every success, no matter how big or small. Aubrey loves sharing stories of teenage parents who have overcome incredible challenges to achieve their dreams. These young parents have not only graduated from high school but have also enrolled in college and secured jobs, proving their determination and resilience.
Danielle recently worked with a family that faced domestic violence in their home. Through the support of the Parents as Teachers Program, they not only overcame this challenge but ended up strengthening their marriage as a result. It’s stories like these that remind us of the transformative power of support and guidance.
Tailored Support and Empowerment
One of the things that makes the Parents as Teachers Program unique is its personalized approach. Parents are encouraged to take ownership of their journey. Elizabeth highlights this aspect and says, “We work hand in hand with parents, tailoring our support to their individual needs and interests. We follow a curriculum, but we also encourage parents to choose activities and focus areas that resonate with them. It’s all about empowering them to make informed decisions and actively participate in their child’s development.”
Clear Communication and Understanding
Effective communication is key in any parent-educator relationship. Aubrey understands the importance of breaking down complex concepts into relatable terms, especially when working with teen parents. She says, “I make sure to explain assessments, milestones, and results in a way that makes sense to them. It’s important that they understand the significance of the information and feel engaged in the process.”
Danielle focuses on building trust and connection with families. She says, “I want parents to feel safe and comfortable sharing their concerns, challenges, and successes. There’s no judgment here. I share my own experiences as a parent, and that helps them feel understood and supported.”
Overcoming Barriers and Building Trust
We understand that each family faces unique challenges and may have different levels of trust when it comes to seeking support. Miriam, being a former participant in the program, recognizes the importance of building trust. She says, “I’ve been in their shoes, and I understand their hesitations. It takes time, patience, and consistent support to build trust. But once they realize we genuinely care about their well-being, it becomes a truly transformative experience.”
“Parents truly are a child’s first and best teacher and empowering them to learn and grow with the PAT Parent Educators makes a huge impact on the whole family dynamic,” says Chris Lott. “Bastrop County Cares is proud to support the PAT program.”
The Parents as Teachers Program is here to guide and support parents every step of the way. The dedicated Parent Educators, like Elizabeth, Danielle, Miriam, and Aubrey, are ready to empower parents, celebrate their successes, and help them overcome any challenges they may face. If you would like to refer a family to the Parents as Teachers program, please call 844-309-6385.
The PAT Program is hiring – if you would like to apply to become a Parent Educator, click here for more information and to submit your resume: https://bbtrails.org/snw_job_postings/1856-parent-educator/