More than 1,300 propel symposium to top figures at Arizona resort
The 2018 Parents as Teachers International Conference, held Oct. 8 – 11, surpassed all previously held attendance records, with more than 1,300 early child development professionals converging on the beautiful and spacious Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix for the four day symposium.
Parents as Teachers President and CEO Constance Gully said the conferences continue to garner broad appeal from leading professionals committed to early child development, safety, health and well-being of children and families. She said this year’s turnout attest to the willingness of so many to help improve the lives of our most vulnerable children and families.
This year’s conference offered 80 workshops focusing on: diversity, equity, and inclusion; exploring new data-driven practices; working with families facing addictions; building stronger brains; valuing the role of dad; cultural competency in home visiting; engaging Latino families; as always, conversations about federal and state advocacy efforts.
“Our primary objective is to provide a forum for professional development, camaraderie, and educational enrichment,” said Gully, adding, “everywhere you went throughout the resort grounds, you saw people going in and out of workshops, panel discussions and focus groups, visiting the exhibit emporium and enjoying the great networking.”
Parents as Teachers conferences bring together non-profit, private and public leaders to collaborate, learn, build and nurture relationships. Gully said the YOUnited theme served as a springboard for Parents as Teachers professionals and others to explore effective ways to elevate the early childhood education home visiting field.
The conference’s success is directly linked to the sponsors and supporters committed to expanding the impact of home visiting on families and communities. “None of this would be possible without their ongoing financial support,” Gully said.
For three consecutive years, Centene Corp. has been the banner sponsor. Other major supporters included: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Edward Jones, Bezos Family Foundation, Athena, R-B-O Logistix, Moneta Group, Jean & Mary Roy Family Foundation, and Twiga Foundation.
“And I’d like to personally thank our board chair emeritus Dave Morley and his wife, Cheryl, for their underwriting support, and our current board chair Patricia Kempthorne for her leadership and support.”
The conference was highlighted by several awards ceremonies. There were 75 Milestone recipients. Arizona State Sen. Kate Brophy-McGee received the coveted Jack Tweedie Human Services and Early Learning Award. The Child and Family Resources, Building Bright Futures PAT Home Visitation Programs received the Losos Award for Excellence. The Parenting Center of Lexington One, Lexington, SC, received the Losos Award for Innovation.
Parent Educator of the Year awards were given to Maria Arroyo, Parenting Center of Lexington One, Lexington, SC; Cindy Boger, Parents as Teachers of Catawba County Hickory Public Schools, Hickory, NC; and Kristina Gorshe, Catholic Charities Diocese of Pueblo, Pueblo, CO. One hundred Blue Ribbon Affiliates were recognized for delivering the highest quality of services to children and families.