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Roseville's Leticia Martinez receives award for parent education

By: Sydney Maynard, Press Tribune Intern
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A number of organizations exist with a purpose of improving home situations and helping children with delays in learning. KidsFirst is one of them.

One program started under KidsFirst is Parents as Teachers, aimed at teaching parenting skills and improving a child’s school readiness.

Roseville resident Leticia Martinez, 44, is a KidsFirst Parent Educator for Parents as Teachers. Martinez attended the Parents as Teachers international conference Nov. 6-8, 2012 and was one of three parent educators recognized for their work.

“We are so proud that Leticia was singled-out for her outstanding work.  Not only do we receive positive comments from the families she works with, but we also see the results as the children of the families she serves enter pre-school better prepared and ready to learn,” said Lisa Velarde, CEO of KidsFirst.

  1. What do you do as a KidsFirst Parent Educator?

Normally what I do is I go and visit women or women with children under the age of 3. (I monitor) parent-child interaction, child development (and) bring education information to the parents.

2. How often are your visits?

Normally if (the women) are pregnant we do monthly visits. Once they have the baby (we do) biweekly visits. Then we transition back to monthly. It kind of depends on the needs of the family.

3. What are the biggest challenges that the parents you visit face?

One would be just when the families don’t follow through with the follow-up activities that they are supposed to do with their child. Our main objective is for the child to not be behind when they enter preschool or kindergarten. We do have some children that when they enter the program they are kind of delayed. There was one family and the child was delayed in language. They were in the program for over a year and they did end up getting services and the family started to bond more, read to (the child), sing, (and at the end) the child was advanced for her age.

4. What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

Just the little steps – when the parents get really excited about the milestones with their child. They kind of get excited with the needs of the child. (It’s) kind of a rewarding thing, knowing that they’re spending (time together).

5. Were you surprised when you got the award?

I actually was. I was kind of surprised.