The 2024 Challenge Grant – Empowering Illinois Affiliates

Parents as Teachers National Center recently unveiled the awardees of THE 2024 Challenge Grants, which provides additional funding to successful applicants across a spectrum of categories, from Combatting Maternal and Infant Mortality, Family Leadership Development, Workforce Development, Program Quality Improvement, Marketing/Communication Support, and DEIA.

Like many family support programs, Parents as Teachers affiliates often face budget constraints, particularly with rising personnel costs. This can lead to challenges in funding essential infrastructure and long-term investments, such as building parent leaders, supporting staff and family mental and physical health needs, and investing in staff professional development and community visibility.

In Illinois, the awardees of THE 2024 Challenge Grants are ECHO Family Enrichment Program, Easterseals, Helping Us Grow, ROE 33, Early Beginnings, and First Years. These affiliate programs exemplify the dedication and innovation prevalent across the state, each poised to utilize their grant awards to make significant strides in enhancing family support services and community engagement.

Below, a few affiliates shared with the IL PAT State Office how they will utilize their grants to make a difference.

Regional Office of Education #33: Extending Essential Services

Covering Knox, Henderson, Mercer, and Warren counties, the vast expanse of the Regional Office of Education #33 often leaves families traveling substantial distances to access critical services. Recognizing this challenge, ROE#33 will leverage their $25,000 grant to bridge these gaps, bringing essential resources directly to communities in need. Through strategic collaborations with local agencies, ROE#33 plans to enhance access to mental health support, parenting resources, educational opportunities, and transportation, aligning seamlessly with the Parents as Teachers model’s emphasis on resource networking.

Early Beginnings in Macomb: Elevating Program Quality

In Macomb, Illinois, ROE26 stands out as a beacon of excellence, receiving a $25,000 grant for Program Quality and Improvement. Building on their status as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate, ROE26 will channel these funds to elevate their programs even further. Early Beginnings Program Director Christine Nicholson’s participation in the Erikson Infant Mental Health Certificate Program will be a testament to this commitment. With a focus on enhancing support for families, Nicholson’s certification journey will underscore ROE26’s dedication to delivering top-tier services.

First Years in Sterling: Investing in Workforce Development

The dedication to workforce development shines through in Parents as Teachers First Years in Sterling, where the $50,000 grant will propel initiatives to enhance employee knowledge and skills. From equipping home visitors with additional tools to incentivizing staff members to pursue higher education in Early Childhood Education, this award will drive transformative change. By bolstering support for families and nurturing the well-being of parent educators, Parents as Teachers First Years in Sterling is paving the way for impactful community engagement.

These Illinois programs exemplify the spirit of innovation and dedication to family support that defines Parents as Teachers. As they continue to leverage these grants to enrich their communities, we celebrate their efforts and look forward to the positive impact they will undoubtedly create.

For more information on the Investing in the Power of Families initiative, read more.