‘Missouri’s greatest export’ also reaches a milestone

Regarding the STL Life article “A Toast to The Town” (March 3):

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch did a wonderful job lifting up organizations and businesses that are celebrating milestones this year. One more group for the list is Parents as Teachers, an international nonprofit headquartered in St. Louis that is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Parents as Teachers promotes early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging parents and caregivers. It builds strong communities, thriving families and children who are healthy, safe and ready to learn by matching parents and caregivers with services for pregnant women and families with children from birth through kindergarten, many of whom live in the most challenged communities.

In 1984, then-Missouri Gov. Christopher “Kit” Bond, a father of a newborn, supported legislation to require Parents as Teachers in every state school district. He knew that babies don’t come with instructions and that parenting is hard. Having started here in Missouri, this group is now in all 50 states, 115 tribal communities and six other countries. To this day, as a lifetime board member, Bond never fails to claim the group as Missouri’s greatest export.

Parents as Teachers’ early childhood home visiting model is backed by 35 years of research with proven outcomes for children and families. Last year, the group served close to 200,000 families in 8,221 ZIP codes.

Constance Gully • Maryland Heights