Utah Families Connect Event

On April 18, 2018 the Parents As Teachers (PAT) program at The Learning Center for Families (now Root for Kids) participated in the Utah Families Connect event with eight other PAT programs across Utah. The purpose of the event was to bring families together to enjoy a night of food, fun and learning while connecting via social media with other people enrolled in the same program. It was so fun to be a part of that and hosting the St. George area event in our backyard! We had 16 parents and 41 children join us on Wednesday and here are a few highlights of the night.


Everyone enjoyed a brown bag meal with sandwich, chips and fruit leather. Special thanks to Even Stevens – St. George for donating the supplies for this delicious dinner!

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect

Nutrition Workshop

We had the pleasure of having Daylemarie Eves from USU Extension program come and do a presentation about nutrition for the children and their families. The kids were a bit disappointed to learn that chocolate milk contains a lot of sugar, but everyone enjoyed the interactive presentation and learning about the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy and strong. Check out our Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers blog post for more about the resources the presenter shared.

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect

Community Resources

Families also had the opportunity to learn more about SUU Head Start, Family Health Care and Help Me Grow Utah. We are grateful for the participation of these organizations and all they do in our community!

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect


The night wouldn’t be complete without fun games for everyone to enjoy!

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect
Utah Families Connect
Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect

Utah Families Connect

About Parent As Teachers

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an early childhood family support and parent education home-visiting model.  Families may enroll in Parents as Teachers beginning with pregnancy and may remain in the program until the child enters kindergarten. Family Specialists work with parents to strengthen protective factors and ensure that young children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

Utah Families Connect

We are now enrolling for the Parent As Teachers program! If you are interested or want more information, please fill out a referral form. To support Root for Kids and fund programs like this, make a donation today!

Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers

It can be hard a lot of times to know what we as adults need in our diets, but it only gets more complicated trying to figure that out for kids. Have you ever wondered how much food that tiny preschooler body really needs? Are they lacking essential nutrients or eating too much? Worry not! There are a lot of awesome resources about child nutrition. So check out this helpful information from the USDA that we gathered for you, including a daily food plan for preschoolers.

Food Groups and Healthy Eating

Before going into the food plan, meet the food groups! A balanced diet is important for kids health so let’s see a few examples of food from the food groups they need.

  • Fruit: banana, apple, grapes, orange, cantaloupe, strawberry
  • Vegetables: spinach, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, corn, tomatoes
  • Grains: bread, crackers, oatmeal, pancakes, rice, pasta, tortillas (at least 50% of grains should be 100% wheat)
  • Protein: meat, eggs, seafood, poultry, beans and peas, nuts and seeds
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese (choose fat free or low-fat dairy products)
Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers | Root for Kids
Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers | Root for Kids

Daily Food Plan

Now let’s translate all that into everyday life. Here are some ideas of patterns and menus! It’s also a good idea to involve kids in the cooking process when appropriate. On top of stimulating their senses and practicing coordination, kids are most likely to enjoy the meal if they are part of making it happen. Check out the KidsCreate website for kid-friendly recipes and more resources.

Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers | Root for Kids

Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers | Root for KidsTo download the PDFs and printable versions of the graphics, please visit ChooseMyPlate.org.

1st Annual Caterpillar Clubhouse Health Fair

We had so much fun hosting our first annual Caterpillar Clubhouse Health Fair last week! It provided free health services over the course of two days for 23 kids enrolled in childcare. Our awesome Health Communication intern, Abby Wynn, organized the event as part of her capstone project for the Health Communication degree at Dixie State Communication. We are so grateful for her hard work and everyone who came out that day to make this happen!


Why are health screenings so important?


Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of child’s development. Their eyes should be examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early, helping them to be ready to learn.



Early identification puts children on track for success and learning. Development screenings help to determine whether a child needs additional help.



Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making both baby teeth and permanent teeth that are forming, resistant to the acid that causes demineralization that creates cavities. Children with healthy mouths and teeth are better able to eat, speak and focus on learning.



Hearing problems can be treated if they’re caught early, so it’s important to get your child’s hearing screened early and evaluated regularly. Even a mild or partial hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to speak and understand language and readiness to learn.



Lead poisoning causes a range of health effects from behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Lead is HIGHLY toxic and can lead to seizures and death. Children need a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months to monitor the level of lead in their blood to ensure that they have not been exposed to dangerous levels of lead and are keeping healthy and prepared for learning.


Our bodies need oxygen for energy and growth. Red blood cells, hemoglobin, and iron carry oxygen through the blood to the body. Anemia is when the body does not have enough red blood cells, iron, or hemoglobin. It can slow a child’s energy, growth, and development. Hematocrit/Hemoglobin should be checked between 9 and 30 months to make sure a child is healthy and has what his/her body needs to have the energy and oxygen to be ready to learn.

The Caterpillar Clubhouse is now enrolling! Learn more here.

5 Easy and Cheap Activities for Kids on Valentine’s Day

Sometimes planning activities for the little ones can be messy and overwhelming. But there are tons of ideas out there to make Valentine’s Day fun without the hassle. Check out some of our favorite easy and cheap activities for kids!

1.Hand print Flowers

Can’t wait for spring? Try this cute hand print flowers activity! Besides keeping the kids entertained, it’s such a precious memento.

Nanny She Can Do

2. Heart Butterfly

This is the perfect craft for the insect enthusiasts in your home. Let the kids take their time painting the clothespins and help out with the heart cutouts. They will have a good time flying this little guy around!

Glue Stick and Gumdrops

3. Bead Heart

Looking for an activity that doesn’t involve paint or glue? This one is for you. On top of being messy-free, it puts those fine motor skills into practice, making it fun and stimulating. Have the kids sort the beads by color, count them or even come up with a pattern, as the author suggests.

4. Touch and Feel Valentine’s Day Hearts

Let your creativity run wild with these cute touch and feel hearts. Basically anything you have available at home would work on these! Think interesting textures and making a good number of hearts to keep the youngsters entertained for a while.

Simple Play Ideas

5. Salt Dough Footprint Keepsake

Can you ever have too many keepsakes of your little one? Time is a thief and they grow up so fast. Try this adorable footprint keepsake made with salt dough. Have the kids help you measure the ingredients and mix them up, they will love being part of the whole process.

We hope you enjoy making these fun activities with the kids! Share your creations with us on Instagram using #rootforkids.

2017 TLC for Families Awards

On Thursday, October 26 we held our annual TLC for Friends Luncheon at the Courtyard Marriott in St. George. More than 100 people attended the event and joined us in honoring distinguished community members and organizations who have helped TLC in the past year! We are also grateful for their efforts in raising close to $12,000 that day as well. Here’s a little bit about the amazing award recipients.

2017 Public Partner | Councilman Joe Bowcutt, City of St. George

It’s not every day we see “politicians” come through our front doors as a volunteer ready to help package up newborn kits, organize our closets and help sanitize toys, but Councilman Joe Bowcutt has been that guy. Joe has served on the St. George City Council since 2014 and is known for his affable nature and calm, no-nonsense approach to city issues. Our staff members who attend chamber meetings and other events around town all tell me that Joe is one of the friendliest “politicians” they have ever met and is always the first to shake your hand and say hello.

His employment with Guild Mortgage has provided him with many opportunities to serve TLC both in fundraising and volunteer projects which he has always done with a smile.  Joe has been involved with the Washington County Board of Realtors for years and has also been involved with the Lions Club for over 40 years. We are grateful for Councilman Bowcutt’s service to our community and to TLC.

2017 Outstanding Donor | RedRock Broadcasting

RedRock Broadcasting is a local broadcasting company owned by long-time radio veteran Craig Hanson. It operates the popular radio stations Mix 103.1, Kool 98.9 and 102.3 Coyote which reach over 30% of the Washington County population each week. Craig has a long history of developing strong radio stations in Southern Utah beginning in 1986 when Craig developed, ran and eventually sold several successful radio stations in Southern Utah to current owners Cherry Creek Radio and Canyon Media.

Although Craig is now retired, it hasn’t slowed down his desire to serve those in need in the communities where he lives. Many people from the Salt Lake area are familiar with his efforts to help The Road Home homeless shelter every holiday season by bringing all of his radio stations down to the shelter and broadcasting live in the lobby for a day right before Christmas – encouraging people to drive thru with their donations of money and items in need.  What began as a $5,000 fundraiser 20 years ago has now turned into an almost $3 million dollar fundraiser for The Road Home that continues to this day.

Last year, Craig set out to start this same tradition with his radio stations in Southern Utah with a goal of raising $5,000 for The Learning Center for Families.  We were thrilled to surpass that goal and raised over $15,000 in financial donations and tens of thousands of dollars in donated items like diapers, baby blankets and other needed supplies. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe how we feel about Craig and the fine people at Red Rock Broadcasting.

2017 Business Partner | Stapley Pharmacy

Stapley Pharmacy is a locally owned compounding pharmacy serving the Washington County area for the past 49 years with locations in downtown St. George, Enterprise and Dino Crossing that provides home or office delivery. Stapley Pharmacy’s partnership with TLC began earlier this year when their go-getter Director of Education Kelli Charlton approached us and asked if we had any needs that Stapley Pharmacy could help us with. Kelli came and met with our management team and staff where we both learned more about each other’s services and found areas where we could benefit from a partnership.

Stapley Pharmacy has donated everything from diaper cream, thermometers, grocery bags and lip balms for the families we serve.  Kelli is in regular contact with us to make sure we’re not running low on any items and has been a great ambassador for TLC as she’s out and about in our community. Stapley Pharmacy also provided a generous financial donation to help sponsor today’s lunch.

2017 Individual Donor | Rocky E. Neal

Rocky Neal was first introduced to TLC through an old friendship with our founding director Debbie Justice. While giving Rocky a tour of TLC, Debbie introduced Rocky to Janie Belliston – Debbie’s newly hired development officer and it was on that day that Rocky made the mistake of uttering those dreadful words “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” J  Later that year, she remembered Rocky’s story she heard at a Corporate Alliance event where he shared how he first got into hot air ballooning.  His wife Dee told him he needed a hobby, so on his 40th birthday she bought him a hot air balloon – and Rocky’s been hooked ever since.

Rocky has donated balloon rides as prizes for several of TLCs fundraising events, and if you’ve ever been on a hot air balloon ride you know how much time and energy is spent during the early morning hours to make it all happen. Rocky continues to go the extra mile with TLC as he has made generous financial contributions year after year which are then matched by his employer. When Rocky’s not floating high in the skies above Washington Fields, he runs The Neal Group at Merrill Lynch where he works as Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor.  Please join me in thanking Rocky for always going above and beyond for TLC.

2017 Individual Volunteer | Naomi Ross

It’s impossible for us to quantify the value of service Naomi Ross has rendered to TLC over the years.  Since 2006, she has volunteered her time and talents in an effort to help our staff stay organized and keep our office supply room running like a well-oiled machine.  After several years living in Japan and Hawaii, Naomi and her husband wanted to be closer to family and decided to move to Sun River. Once settled, they continued their desire to serve by volunteering for the Chamber of Commerce, TLC and the Doctors Volunteer Clinic.

Sadly, Naomi lost her husband to a battle with lung cancer shortly thereafter.  And as you can imagine, the following year was extremely difficult for Naomi, but as she says she “could not just sit around feeling sorry for herself for too long.” So she began to volunteer again with The Learning Center for Families three times a week handling paperwork, organizing the library and office supplies and supporting our staff with all of the things that seem to come up last minute that Naomi is always willing to do. Naomi diligently volunteers for TLC now almost every weekday and just this year alone has donated over 400 hours of her time.

2017 Volunteer Group | LDS Southgate 3rd Ward

There are so many wonderful church groups who serve in our community, but the LDS Southgate 3rd Ward is extra special to TLC.  Because they live quite close to our St. George office they contacted Rosie, our Director of Family and Community Partnerships and asked how they could help – and boy did they help!  They planned and coordinated with Rosie to find the perfect date to have over 50 of their ward members show up over the summer and rolled up their sleeves to help.

They helped with framing and painting a big, new white board in our conference room, cleaned all of the downstairs windows and cleaned both of TLCs vans. But they didn’t stop there – they got busy cleaning and sanitizing toys from our daycare, assembled some office chairs, dusted all of our picture frames and sanitized all of our door knobs.  They were relentless in their volunteer efforts and we are so grateful for their willingness to serve.

2017 Health Partner | Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

10 years ago, the state of Utah cut the audiologist program. With no audiologist Tena our registered nurse no longer had a place to send the kids she was unable to test. On a random day, Stefani Watson from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind showed up in our lobby asking how she could help the children we serve. This was a huge relief to Tena as she was wondering how she was going to re-test or find a local audiologist willing to help these children. Stefani jumped right in the following week and to this day has tested thousands of children served by TLC, ensuring that they get the proper follow up and support.

Over time, Stefani received additional equipment that allows more specialized testing for our children who have sensory issues and will not tolerate the probes in their ears. Stefani has even been known to visit a family after hours at their home to catch a child sleeping who was too difficult to test otherwise. The second Tuesday of the month would not be the same without the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind van parked in our parking lot.

2017 Dental Partner – Dr. Blake Gutierrez

If you know Dr. Gutierrez, you know his heart is as big as his smile. TLC is fortunate to have a phenomenal partnership with Family Health Care, but the reality is that both organization’s resources can, at times, be limited and we have to get creative in meeting the needs of children and families we serve. Dr. Gutierrez learned of this need and was willing to help in any way possible. He and his assistant Nickki volunteered their time along with Family Health Care’s CEO Lori Wright who allowed the use of their dental space to help one of our under-insured postpartum mother’s who had severe dental disease. This was an all hands on deck project, as it would also require full dentures a few months after the extractions.

With funding from The Eccles Foundation that Lori was able to secure – in addition to the mother having saved what she could for several months – this mother will soon have a beautiful, healthy smile thanks to the big heart of Dr. Gutierrez.  Having great partners like Dr. Gutierrez makes our jobs in providing health services so much easier.

2017 Dental Partner – Dr. Richard Denos

Dr. Denos has been a practicing dentist for over 25 years. Last year after our annual luncheon Dr. Denos approached Tena – our nurse health director to see how he could help The Learning Center for Families. With great excitement Tena immediately had a case ready for him. Dr. Denos didn’t hesitate for a second and gave her his cell phone number. Shortly thereafter, Tena reached out to Dr. Denos regarding an under insured pregnant women who had been identified at one of TLCs Dixie State University Dental Hygiene days. The mother needed multiple teeth pulled and possibly dentures.

A few weeks later Dr. Denos and his wonderful staff welcomed the pregnant mother into his office and provided the needed dental work. He also volunteered to look at any of our under-insured/un-insured adults after a need was identified from our TLC DSU dental hygiene days. Dr. Denos has a huge heart and we are so thankful for his willingness to help – especially since TLC has very limited funding to help with medical expenses.

2017 Community Partner – Utah State University Extension

As part of Utah State University’s Cooperative Extension for family and consumer sciences, Carolyn has been involved with TLC from our early days as a nonprofit. She has a great love for our community and has always had one goal: to build strong sustainable families. So naturally, a partnership with TLC was perfect fit. She has been an active member of our Health Services Committee since 2002 and has provided education to our home visiting staff to help them be their best for our families in their homes. For years she has provided classes to our families on subjects from everything including financial management classes, to food safety and nutrition, to healthy family relations and marriage classes.

One of the greatest classes offered through the years has been the cooking class where the whole family comes and cooks a nutritious meal together and receives the required cooking items such as pots, pans, and spatulas that some of our families may not have in order to cook a basic meal at home. Carolyn’s years of service helping thousands of families in our community will have a lasting impact on generations to come.

We thank everyone for supporting children and families in our community!

Register Now For The Run-4-Kids April 4, 2015

Lace up those running shoes and bring the whole family to the 15th Annual Run-4-Kids on Saturday morning, April 4, 2015 at the Coral Canyon Town Center Park.  Choose from a 10K, 5K or 1K fun run for the kids with tech t-shirts for everyone, awards in all age divisions and even prizes for the kiddos.  All proceeds benefit The Learning Center for Families – serving over 500 families with vulnerable infants and toddlers every week. 

This year, after you sign up, you will be entered into a drawing for a Go Pro White Edition (donated by First Stop Convenience Store, In Washington, UT) for each additional runner you bring to the 5k or 10k race. When your friend or family member signs up for the 5k or 10k run, fill out the google form on the Run 4 Kids website, “Run-4-Kids 5k and 10k Go Pro Drawing!,“ with your name and the name of the other runner who you signed up and you will be entered in the Go Pro drawing.

If you’re bringing multiple runners to the race, simply fill out the form again for each additional runner you sign up. You will receive one entry for each additional runner you sign up, it’s that easy. Register now for the Run-4-Kids at www.run-4-kids.com or call 674-0982.

Let’s Make this years Run 4 Kids the best!