Parenting Sweet Logo


Welcome to Parenting Sweet! Parenting Sweet is a resource for parents and caregivers, featuring all the great opportunities in our region that make parenting sweet!

Appalachian Promise Alliance is Making Parenting Sweet

We have tips, information, practices, and parenting classes, sessions, workshops, support groups, seasoned educators, and friendships that can help lighten some of your load and make parenting easier. Wish you had an extra hand? A little help? A hack that makes things a little easier? Wondering if doing something different would help? Check out the Parenting Educator Network opportunities below in the April 2023 Highlights.

   Monthly Fun Poll

What kind of school do your children attend?

Parenting Sweet helps us keep our five promises of caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to serve.

School is right around the corner!

Preparing for school before it starts will save families time, energy, and stress.

  1. Gather everything you need!
    • Clothes & Shoes (Go through old clothes to decide what you do and don’t need. Don’t forget to check thrift stores for discounted items!)
    • Backpack
    • Lunchbox
    • Re-usable water bottle
    • School supplies (#2 pencils, paper, binders, crayons, etc. Be sure to check the teacher/school list for your student!)
    • Toiletry bag (deodorant, hair ties, extra socks, extra underwear, etc.)
  2. Start the School Schedule Early
    • Go to bed earlier (It’s going to be hard to wake up early if you’re staying up late.)
    • Wake up earlier (It’s going to be hard to wake up early if you’re not used to it, too.)
    • Get a family calendar (Putting everyone’s activities in the same place lets everyone know the plan each day.)
    • Add educational/extracurricular activities into your daily routine (The sooner they start regularly learning at home, the easier it will be to transition during school. Daily reading, flashcards, and educational games are all good places to start.)
  3. Create a Study Area
    • Set up a study and homework space free of distractions and full of space for textbooks, notebooks, and a computer. This area needs to be quiet and well-lit to make the perfect place to get work done.
  4. Discuss School Year Expectations
    • Believe it or not, talking about school expectations actually calms children’s nerves as they enter the school year. Talk about scenarios they might face, fears, and anticipations they have.
  5. Get Your Kids Involved
    • Let the kids pick out their school supplies and help organize their study areas. Encourage them to help you write down their schedules and activities. The more your children are involved in their school preparation, the more excited they will be for the school year!

Packing school lunches can be a headache, but they don’t have to be.

Here are some tips to keep meal packing easy!

  • Make sure you are sending foods you know your child will eat.
  • It’s okay to keep sending tuna in hopes of your child one day eating it, but don’t send tuna as the only option when you know your child will not eat it. It can take children eight tries to decide if they like a food, so don’t leave them hungry!
  • Students have short lunch breaks that they usually spend socializing. Lunches should include a variety of healthy, colorful options that your child can enjoy in a timely manner.
  • School lunches are normally snack-y, but they’re still meals, so make sure to include sources of protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Have your kids leave leftover food in their lunchboxes so you know what they’re eating and how much. This will help you pack more accordingly in the future.
  • Prep whatever you can ahead of time. Chop the veggies, wash the fruit, and bag the crackers beforehand to save yourself from doing it before school.

Need some lunch ideas? Check out these recipes from EatingWell!

2023 Baby & Family Expo

July 29, 2023 10AM to 2PM


Join the YWCA, the Parenting Sweet, and other local businesses and organizations with products and services, goodies, resources, and information for parents and caregivers in the region!

OPEN HOUSE – Parenting Sweet

World Breastfeeding Week Celebration!

August 4 at 10:00 am

At 100 Ash Street – the Parenting Sweet

Join Ahh Babies, Appalachian Highlands Healthy Babies, for an open house at the Parenting Sweet – community, refreshments, giveaways, and celebrating breastfeeding!

Elizabethton City Schools Back-2-School Bash 2023


The annual Elizabethton Back-2-School Bash will be held at Elizabethton High School. This event aims to provide needed school supplies and access to community resources to local students and families.

In addition to school supplies, students will receive important information about the coming school year.

The Back-2- School Bash will include inflatables, haircuts, obstacle courses, dinner, and a resource fair. The entire event and activities are free and will take place from 6PM – 8PM.

Johnson City Back 2 School Bash


Gather at the 2023 Back 2 School Bash brought to you by Johnson City Parks and Recreation, Good Samaritan Ministries, 4thirTEEN, LXI, Rise Up, Coalition for Kids, and Kaifah Events! Celebrate the new school year with inflatables, carnival games, yard games, a live DJ, food and more! This event is free and open to the public – make sure to mark your calendars!
Parking in Lot A. Event will be held in the practice fields adjacent to Freedom Hall Pool.

Festival of Hope


This event features a Kids Zone, venders, food trucks, a Lights of Hope Luminaria Display, and more!

Kids Color Guard Day


THS Mighty Viking Color Guard will be hosting “Kid’s Color Guard Day”! Students will have the opportunity to learn an age-appropriate color guard routine taught by the members of the 2023 color guard, make new friends from other schools, dance, and have fun! All rising 1st – 8th graders are welcome to attend.

Located at Tennessee High School – Viking Hall (1100 Edgemont Ave, Bristol, TN 37620)

$20 Donation – Cash or Card accepted at door.

Meet the Mountains Festival

The 5th annual Meet the Mountains Festival will be held on August 18 and 19, 2023 in Johnson City on the lakefront at Winged Deer Park. Friday 4pm to 10pm and Saturday 10am to 10pm.

Meet the Mountains Festival creates free, family-friendly, outdoor experiences throughout the region.

Free activities include live music in the amphitheater, zipline, bike course, demo pool, air dog shows, yoga, rock wall, axe throwing, and more! To learn more about Meet the Mountains, go to

Barbie Tea Party


Back to School Celebration!
Learn to make Barbie’s favorite tea foods and sweets. Set the table using our fancy dishes and teapots and enjoy the party!
Ages 6+ thru adult
Reserve your seats by calling 423-956-3074.

International Overdose Awareness Day


Enjoy free hot dogs and ice cream, live music, games, bouncy houses, and more. Gather with family and friends as we bring awareness to the overdose problem surrounding the nation.

Building with the Lions

Families are invited to drop by the Jones Meeting Center at the Johnson City Public Library the second Saturday of every month between 10:30AM – 12PM for Building with the Lions. You can build creations using LEGO blocks and other construction materials. Your creations will be displayed in the Children’s Library. This program is facilitated by the Johnson City Lions Club.

Musical Instrument Petting Zoo with Johnson City Symphony Orchestra

Members of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra will lead a program for ages 2-5 on Tuesday, August 15 at 10:30AM. Kids will hear music and have hands-on interaction with symphony instruments in the Library’s Jones Meeting Center.
No registration is required. Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.

Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy Choirs

The choirs of the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy are looking forward to a fantastic choral season!

Young singers in grades 1-3 are invited to register for MECCA’s dynamic musical group, Explorers!

Singers in grades 4 and up are invited to audition for either the East Tennessee Children’s Choir (Munsey Church, Johnson City – August 21), or the Emory Virginia Children’s Choir (Emory & Henry College – August 24).

No preparation is necessary for Children’s Choir auditions which are conducted in a small group format and take about 25 minutes (first come, first heard).

For more information, visit!

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Sullivan County

The organization is looking for mentors age 23+ to volunteer 2-3 hours for 2-3 weekends a month as part of their Community-Based Program.



Ages 10+

$40 per person.

Participants will use a variety of materials to create an owl plushie. Children will need to be accompanied by an adult for the entirety of the class. When registering please indicate the color felt you would like for the initial shape of the owl; gray, black, white, or brown.

Call (423) 956-3074 for more information.

Spectrum-tacular Autism Support Group Event: Backyard Terror’s Dinosaur Park

Join the group for a scavenger hunt adventure in the park in Bluff City, TN!

The park is requesting a $5 donation per family if possible.

RSVP here.

Theatre Bristol Fall Acting Classes

Registration is now open for fall acting classes! Space is limited so register today at!

Mondays 5:00-6:00 PM
Creative Dramatics – $160
Ages 5-7: July 24-September 11

Tuesdays 5:00-6:00 PM
Dramatics 1 – $160
Ages 8-10: July 25-September 12

Wednesdays 5:00-6:00 PM
Dramatics 2 – $160
Ages 11-13: July 26-September 13

Theatre Bristol Auditions

A Christmas Carol auditions will be held soon! Spots are available for men, women, and children.

Visit to learn more!

Drive Through Baby Shower

Free car seat checks, door prizes, and multiple vendors will be available in the Unicoi Health Department parking lot on August 24th- and you can stay in the car!

World Breastfeeding Week

Tue, Aug 1, 2023 – Mon, Aug 7, 2023

Breastfeeding Foundations Online Class

Optimal Nurturing is offering free online Breastfeeding Foundations classes quarterly. The next one is August 31st, 2023.

Visit to RSVP and get the link!

Upcoming Parenting Opportunities

Learn, question, and meet other parents and caregivers!

  • Attached at the Heart Parenting Program Thursdays at 7:30PM – FREE, ONLINE
  • Attached at the Heart Parenting Program Fridays at 10:30AM – FREE, ONLINE, IN PERSON
  • Breastfeeding Foundations – Thursday, August 31 at 8PM – FREE, ONLINE
  • Tricities Parenting in-person meetup, Sundays at 4:30PM at the Parenting Sweet – FREE, ONLINE, IN PERSON
  • Prenatal Parenting Series at Ballad Health OBGYN offices and health departments – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Baby & Family Expo- Saturday, July 29th, 10AM – 2PM at YWCA (106 State St, Bristol, TN) – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Mom Power Series by Families Free – FREE, IN PERSON
  • AHH Babies breastfeeding in-person meetup on Fourth Tuesdays at the YWCA – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Family Playtime is being offered at multiple local libraries to foster strong bonds within families – FREE, IN PERSON

Visit the Parenting Sweet Program Catalog for Details and Registration or email! Don’t see a class you need? Let us know!

CherishedMom presents: Mama-U

Join Mama-U and learn about maternal mental health. Plus, get rewarded with a coupon book filled with freebies and discounts upon completion.

For more information, visit or email


The YWCA’s teen pregnancy and parenting support program is beginning enrollment for Prepared Childbirth Classes: Sullivan County, TN, Bristol, TN and VA City!

Art at the Library at Thomas Memorial Library

Painting Fun with Mr. Daniel at Colonial Heights Library

Non-profit Reading Challenge to Provide Appalachian Children with Books

The Appalachian Literary Initiative is holding a July ‘Reading for Literacy Challenge’ and Fundraiser to promote family reading and provide low-income children with books across Appalachia.

The Reading for Literacy Challenge is taking place in a free mobile app called FytFeed.

Healthy Kids Bucks

The Abington Farmers Market is giving youth ages 2-17 who participate in an activity $10 to use on fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs at the market.

The International Storytelling Center
is celebrating 20 years of performances with a Storytelling Live performance series featuring 28 nationally-known storytellers in live afternoon concerts every afternoon at 2PM (Tuesday – Saturday) from May through October. Special events are also offered throughout the season, including evening shows, virtual concerts, and holiday programs. 

Click here to see the full schedule.

PLAYtime in the ARTspace

PLAYtime in the ARTspace is for ages zero to five years old or so, and those who love them! Saturdays at 10:00AM in the ARTspace Theatre at 506 State Street, Bristol, TN.

PLAYtime in the ARTspace entertains and educates with favorite songs, skits, rhymes and more. Parents have the chance to connect with each other, eat  coffee and bagels, and discover great parenting resources from around the region. $5 per family, free coffee and bagels, and great parenting resources. Doors open at 10:00 AM, program begins at 10:15 AM.
Be sure to check the PLAYtime calendar for PLAYtime dates and follow our social media accounts. Sponsored by Theatre Bristol, Bristol Bagel and Bakery, & Appalachian Promise Alliance, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Are you a grandparent? 


Grandparent Workshop Series Bristol’s Promise will be offering a workshop series just for grandparents of children ages birth to five! Why? We love our grandparents! Whether you are “sharing the care” or a custodial grandparent, we recognize the vital importance of grandparents. If you or someone you know may be interested in learning more about this program, please submit your information here. Questions? Email Lily Royston ( Click to learn more!  

Family Playtime

The Children’s Resource Center is reaching out to the community. Join them for Family Playtime at your local library!

Parent Educator Network

The Appalachian Promise Alliance’s Parenting Network meets the third Thursday of each month at noon and works to support parenting education in our community by sharing efforts, communicating the value and importance of parenting education, and learning more about how we can better serve families. If you are interested in helping teach classes, mentor parents, or have parenting educator updates to share, please contact us!

Nourish Kids

Teach your kids the importance of fruits and vegetables by letting them get their own goods from the Farmers’ Market! Children between the ages of 2 and 12 can taste fresh produce, engage in educational activities, and receive $5 to spend at the Farmers’ Market.

Get the most out of your local farmers’ market!

Family Bowling Pass

Get A Family Pass For Less Today! After you’ve created your account, upgrade to our Kids Bowl Free family pass, which allows adults in your family to enjoy the same great FREE Bowling offer as your kids. You pay it one time, and you can bowl with your kids all summer long. !It’s great for parents, grandparents, older siblings and babysitters. Use Coupon Code: NoJoke5

You’ll save $5 on your Family Pass Today! Just go to the website at:

The Wellness Center of Kingsport still has spots available in their swim classes! Anyone can learn to swim at The Wellness Center – no matter the age or skill level.

Group Swim Lessons: Children ages 3-12 | Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 pm

Parent & Child Safety Swim Sessions: For ages 6 months to 36 months and a guardian | Saturdays, 9-9:45 am

 Preschool Group Swim Lessons: Ages 3-5 | Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2 pm

 Private Swim Lessons: All ages, adults included | upon availability

Fill out this form to sign up or request more information.

Are your kiddos ready to take their swimming skills to the next level? The Wellness Center is now offering an Advanced Skills Swim class for children ready to learn more advanced strokes, breathing techniques, and become more confident in the water.

The next session starts July 3. Complete this form to sign up or get more information:

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program

Weekly free sessions

Register Now!

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program

Weekly free sessions

Register Now!

Coffee & Conversation for Grandfamilies

  • Support
  • Information
  • Resources

1st Monday each month at 10:00 am
Memorial Park Community Center
Johnson City

Prime Your Parenting with resources from Appalachian Promise Alliance

Series, groups, training and more!

Library, handouts, babycarriers, coaching, and consulting!

iCode Summer Camps

Free Reading Resources

Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Education to provide at-home reading resources for free to all Tennessee families of K–2 children to help young learners become stronger readers. Based on your child’s grade level, they will receive the At-Home Decodable Book Series, a collection of seven booklets containing 20+ exciting stories full of sounds and words to practice, and age-appropriate, high-quality Scholastic books. Click here to order your kit.

 Looking for information or support?

Bristol’s Promise Parenting Education Network Programs Find a program that fits your needs! Click to search for free or low cost, morning or evening, online or in-person, first-time or veteran parent/caregiver, and more

Visit to learn more about: The Parenting Education Network, Bristol Family Resource Center, YWCA MOMS R US, Mom Power, Hope House, Frontier Health, Highlands Community Services, Breastfeeding Essentials, La Leche League Breastfeeding Support, Cherished Mom, Attached at the Heart Classes, Twin City Reads, Buckle Up for Life, Doula by Donation, Sullivan County Family Services, High Country Doulas, ETSU Family Physicians, Bethany Services, TriCities Babywearing TN, Sullivan County Health Department, STRONG Pregnancies, STRONG Starts, and more.

Parenting Sweet is here to help make parenting sweet!

Parents get connected to support and information because learning about parenting and getting support does make a difference. If you would you like to continue receiving Parenting Sweet, you’ll need to be sure to sign up on the website. If you know a parent, caregiver, grandparent, or anyone who cares about children, share the sign-up link with them and help them find all that’s great for children and families in our community. Past issues and all the events are available anytime on the Blog.

Support for this program is provided by Ballad Population Health Community Health Initiative and Bristol Public Housing. Parenting Sweet Team: Samantha Gray, Lily Royston, Susan Turner, Emily Macbeth, Katherine Wilson-Thompson, Melissa Roberts, and Margaret Feierabend. Have information to share? Submit it to


{ }