NEWLAND — Blue Ridge Partnership for Children was recently awarded $75,000 through AMY Wellness Foundation to continue its work on creating a regional solution for supporting families who want to strengthen their parenting skills through educational classes. Our goal, with this funding, is to build a full continuum of information, education and support for parents and caregivers across our region.

This effort began several years ago with a collaboration of community agencies gathered at the behest of the Alliance for Young Children of the Blue Ridge (AYC BR). Their task was to create a beginning model of reliable parent education with extremely limited resources. Thanks to AMY Wellness Foundation funding, the model created in Yancey County was extended into Mitchell last year, and with continued funding is now moving into Avery. Its core components include:

  • Classes that give parents and caregivers the tools and resources they need to be confident and effective, and support their child’s healthy social-emotional development and resilience.
  • A single portal on the Cooperative Extension website in each county to learn about and enroll in classes, and receive personalized support in matching needs/goals to parent education offerings.
  • Clear choice in the continuum of educational offerings, so that parents can match their level of information/support need with the intensity of the service, their parenting philosophy and goals with the parent education model and topic, the demands on their lives with the class schedule and meeting time, and their financial means with class costs.

Through the extensive collaboration of service agencies over the last four years and the support of foundations such as AMY Wellness, we have added sustainability to our beginning system in numerous ways. We have deepened our capacity of trainers and models so that we can more fully meet the complexity of family needs and preferences. In addition to providing the portal, Cooperative Extension is delivering meeting supports to parents and caregivers, like free child care and meals.

If you would like to learn more about our collaborative, community-based model for parent education, go to the Cooperative Extension websites in Yancey ( and Mitchell (, and click on the Parent Education Opportunities tab to the left.

You can also contact Katherine Savage at or by calling (828) 682-0047.

We appreciate the AMY Wellness Foundation for their continued support in developing a system that gives our parents and caregivers the information they need to raise happy, healthy children and secure a stronger future for our community.

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