“Our goal is to offer support, teaching strategies, and encouragement to the entire family,” says Suzann Fenton, educator for the Parents Are Teachers program at Christian Appalachian Project.
Parents Are Teachers is a home-based, early intervention program serving infants and children in Appalachia with defined disabilities or developmental delays as well as those who are considered at-risk for delays. With the philosophy that the parent is the child’s best teacher, CAP’s staff focuses on providing parents the education needed to actively engage their child in activities to help develop their social, cognitive, sensory, communication, self help, and motor skills.
“The Parents Are Teachers program is an outstanding program that meets the unique needs of the population we serve,” Fenton explains. “Many of the families are delayed in their social skills and have a challenging time relating to service providers, school systems, the medical field, and social services. We strive to love the family unconditionally, accept the individuals where they are, and encourage them to learn to advocate for their child and family.”
For 30 years, Fenton has worked in the Parents Are Teachers program and has been instrumental in helping countless children overcome difficult challenges. One of those children is the grandson of CAP employee Bobbie Playforth.
“By the time my grandson was 2 and 1/2 years old, it had become obvious that he had significant developmental delays,” says Playforth. “I had no idea where to turn for help. I asked Suzann Fenton if I could speak to her one day and tearfully told her about my grandson. Suzann immediately put her arms around me, both literally and figuratively. She began providing me with resources — materials to read, names of people to contact both locally and at the state level. She even offered to meet with my grandson to do an assessment, in order to help us know more accurately his needs.”
Like many of the families we serve who are supporting a child with developmental delays, Playforth felt alone and scared for her grandson’s future.
“One of the biggest things Suzann did for me quickly was give me HOPE. She reassured me that my grandson would be okay, she pointed out his strengths and made me feel confident that help was available for him. And because she supported me, I was better equipped to support my son and help him become a better advocate for his child,” states Playforth.
Thanks to donors like you, CAP’s Parents Are Teachers program is able to assist families and give them the tools they need to succeed and help their children excel. This program lives up to CAP’s mission of building hope, transforming lives, and sharing Christs love through service in Appalachia every day.