Early Learning BLAST works together with NurturePA, a non-profit mentorship program that connects volunteer mentors with new mothers (mentees) of infants to promote infant mental health and early literacy. The service is text based, allowing mentors to share information and support and respond directly to mothers’ questions or concerns.
EL BLAST’s role is both creating early literacy content for the mentors to send to their mentees as well as providing early literacy support to NurturePA mentors. Library-created content ranges from ideas for activities that a mother can do with her child (aged 0-3) that help develop early literacy skills to recommendations for books and other library services that a caregiver can use to support their baby’s or toddler’s healthy development.
A yearly Round Table for NurturePA mentors is also hosted by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and presented by EL BLAST. At the Round Table, EL BLAST shares early literacy information, discusses the importance of supporting parents as their child’s first and most important teacher, and provides library information and resources. Participating mentors can ask questions and discuss strategies for supporting parents in developing their children’s early literacy skills.