Growing Strong Families Still Going Strong

Heidi Lowthorp, Parent Educator

Lowthorp Wears Many Hats

In one week, at the Fremont County Iowa State University Extension Office in Sidney, Heidi Lowthorp wears many hats.

As a Parent Educator for Growing Strong Families, Heidi offers a variety of learning opportunities to the children she serves, customizing each lesson to the child's age and interests.  One day, she might be a member of a 19-month-old’s Grammy-winning band, and later in the day, will explore the mysterious land of dinosaurs with a 4-year old.  The next day, she might be a jungle explorer with a 32-month old, meet a newborn baby, and play peek-a-boo with a 6-month old.  Whatever hat Heidi wears as a Parent Educator, she delivers valuable child development topics to parents and caregivers of young children.

What Is Growing Strong Families?

Growing Strong Families is a monthly home visitation program funded by the Corner Counties Empowerment Area and Fremont County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  Families must meet only two criteria for program eligibility – 1) have a child under the age of 5, and 2) live in Fremont County.

Growing Strong Families is modeled after the nationally-recognized Parents as Teachers program.  That curriculum is enhanced with research from Iowa State University.  There are four areas of focus in the program -- motor skills, social interaction, intellectual abilities, and language development.  All activities and discussions focus on these areas, trying to improve, encourage and strengthen each one.

Parents are the most effective teachers their children will ever have.  Growing Strong Families helps parents become the best teachers they can be for their children.

Program Availability

Despite recent cuts in funding to the Fremont County Growing Strong Families program, Heidi is still able to provide monthly family visits, bringing child development information, age-appropriate games and skill-building activities.  However, the number of families she is able to serve is more limited as Heidi's time is now split between serving as a Parent Educator for GSF and the County Youth Coordinator for Fremont County ISU Extension and Outreach.  

For those families who are served by Heidi and the GSF program, the end result is a stronger family and a well-developed child who is ready to to succeed in the school setting.  

How Do I Enroll in Growing Strong Families?

If you, or someone you know, would like help in reaching your parenting goals, and a boost in your child's potential for success, please call Heidi at (712) 374-2351 or stop by the Extension Office located at 610 Clay Street in Sidney.  Regular office hours are 8-4:30, but GSF visits can be arranged during hours that are convenient for your family.

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