Step Up Suncoast Expands Program to Provide Parent Educator Toolkits for Families

Coconut Telegraph

SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY AUG 28, 2020

In response to heightened need during the coronavirus pandemic, Step Up Suncoast has partnered with the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support parent educators and children for the upcoming school year. The bank’s $25,000 grant will enable the organization’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) program to provide families with toolkits containing essential materials and supplies that enrich interactions with their children and create developmental opportunities that are critical during their child’s early years.

"Many of our families benefit greatly from the support PAT provides in learning how to be their child’s first teacher,” said Barbara Patten, president and CEO of Step Up Suncoast. “Bank of America’s support will help our organization overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic and allow us to continue providing children with the fun, educational and engaging activities they need most during this time.”

Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based home-visiting program serving prenatal to five-year-old children in low income households. Because Step Up Suncoast is no longer able to conduct in-person visits during COVID-19, the organization needs to provide each family with individual toolkits for them to effectively participate in its newly created virtual sessions. The contents of these toolkits vary based on every child’s needs and can include a range of interactive items, such as books, puzzles and crayons. In addition, the nonprofit will continue its ongoing service of delivering food, diapers, formula, cleaning supplies and other necessary essentials to the homes it serves.

With a focus on improving lives and strengthening communities, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation earlier this year announced $100 million to support communities around the world during this time of need. As part of this effort, the bank is working with local nonprofits that are providing assistance to those in urgent need amid the pandemic.

“For years, we have been a partner of Step Up Suncoast and seen their positive impact of empowering children to succeed through education, support services and more,” said Mike McCoy, Sarasota-Manatee market president for Bank of America. “With this partnership, we are investing in our future by giving children valuable resources and the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

This Parents as Teachers program is available to families living in DeSoto, Hardee and Manatee counties.

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