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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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VeronicaEMPOWERED PARENTS, PREPARED KIDS

“Life-changing.”

It is how Veronica Delgadillo describes the Y's Parents as Teachers (PAT), a program designed to help parents of young children prepare to start kindergarten. As one of the 140 families participating in PAT, Veronica receives guidance, support and encouragement from the Y's parent educators in her own home.

“Our ultimate goal is to help parents become their child's first and best teacher and advocate,” says Pilar Perez, Senior Director of Early Learning Initiatives for the Y's Community Development department. “Most of the families we serve are immigrants and all are living at or below the poverty line. In PAT, the Y is a trusted source of information to help them navigate health care and school systems.”

A mother of two young children, Giselle (3) and Nelson (6), Veronica was referred to PAT five years ago by her sister-in-law who was already an active participant. It didn't take long for Veronica to bond with her parent educator during their monthly home visits.

“I've learned so much about how to play and connect with my children in a way that promotes learning but is still fun,” she says. “Having our parent educator there to guide me and provide reassurance that my children are developing appropriately has been such a blessing.”

As a result, Nelson is thriving in school, and Veronica has gained valuable support and encouragement to chart her own path to personal success. “I trusted my parent educator to help me set and achieve my goals,” she says proudly. “He built my confidence and helped me to think bigger about what I could accomplish.”

After three years of unemployment she landed a job as a language interpreter. She has also made positive changes at home.

“We started becoming more active together as a family. Now my husband and I are walking, playing outside and going to the park with our kids. They love it. I also love that what I'm learning about nutrition and healthy eating is rubbing off on my husband,” she grins. “We're motivating each other to make better choices.”

“I always knew she had it in her,” says Pilar with a smile. “She just needed extra support and access to resources to make it happen.”