Peacing Together: Parents as Teachers


Keeping youth out of the justice system and inside of the classroom, is a task that starts at home.

That’s the thought behind the United Way’s “Parents as Teachers” program.

“I was kinda going through a little something because I had just had a miscarriage” mother Lykeria Hardnette said.

Around five years ago, Hardnette was struggling.

“I went through a lot of depression,” Hardnette said.

In what she calls ‘a toxic marriage,’ raising two boys and pregnant with a third, Hardnette wasn’t sure how she felt about parenting.

“Well, when I was parenting them on my own, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know,” Hardnette said.

Then, she heard about the Parents as Teachers program through the United Way.

Marla Howard is the lead parent educator in the program and was connected with Hardnette.

“Being that push for her. Being a friend for her,” Howard said.

The connection was made to help Hardnette become a better mother, despite her circumstances.

“There’s no bad parent. Every parent, and I will say every parent don’t know everything,” Howard said.

As part of the program, Howard makes monthly visits with Hardnette, helping her to learn better ways to teach, interact, and take care of her children.

“Sometimes as parents, we forget to interact as much as we need to with our children,” Howard said.

That interaction through educational and creative activities, Howard says, can have affect how children learn in school, saying that kids are more eager to learn.

“Because they’ve already had that first teacher at home to teach them how to learn,” Howard said.

The better the kids do in school, the better the chance of keeping them out of the juvenile justice system.

“Another reason why the program came about was because of the violence in Macon, because of the teen drop out in Macon,” Howard said.

It’s made a big difference at the Hardnette house.

“I feel like I’m a great mom. I really do. At first, I didn’t know,” Hardnette said.

She says none of this would have been possible without help from the United Way.

“Without that support, the three of us would have been who knows where,” Hardnette said.

Hardnette recently had her fourth child and Howard says she plans on staying in their lives for years to come.

Parents as Teachers is a free program offered through the United Way of Central Georgia. It begins with prenatal care and runs until the child turns five-years-old.

For more info on the program, click here.