8,025 children and 7,043 families served since 7/1/12!


Cornerstone gives newborns and preschool children the best start in life by helping pregnant mothers and parenting families in their homes, thereby reducing infant mortality and improving literacy and language skills.


A multi-faceted program, Cornerstone works with low-income and at-risk children and families to increase healthy birth weight outcomes, prepare parents, help families reach their full potential and promote economic stability. The program provides a box full of information for new moms across Shelby County. Cornerstone is highly entrepreneurial and cost-effective, utilizing AmeriCorps members as the backbone of the home visitation pieces.


To provide services to pregnant and parenting families in their homes to give preschool children the best start in life. Goals are to ensure children obtain school readiness skills and to reduce the infant mortality rate in Shelby and Fayette Counties.


Cornerstone is an early childhood home visitation program that provides pregnant mothers as well as families of children from birth to age 5 with all of the proper tools necessary for positive child development. Utilizing the evidence-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum, staff and AmeriCorps members teach preventative health, healthy parenting practices and self-sufficiency to pregnant women as well as parenting families with children from birth to age 3. Parents of children ages 3-5 are taught to be their children’s first teacher. Referrals, pre- and post-program testing and health screenings also contribute to the effectiveness of the Program.

Services Provided

  • Home visitation utilizing the PAT curriculum
  • One-on-one time in Head Start or Early Head Start centers to help children increase their social, emoptional and literacy skills
  • EarnBenefits uses an online system to check benefit eligibility, such as food stamps, prepare and submit applications on the client’s behalf
  • Welcome Baby! Delivers boxes to new mothers in maternity wards of area hospitals filled with infant health and development information




  • Increased school-readiness & reduced infant mortality rate
  • Increased self-esteem of both parent and child which helps to foster a stronger family relationship



Porter-Leath AmeriCorps volunteers began administering the HIPPY curriculum in February 1996 in the LeMoyne Gardens Housing Development in Memphis. The MIHOW program soon followed in 1999 and in 2009, the evidence-based PAT curriculum replaced MIHOW and HIPPY.

Featured Story

Ricardo came to American Way Head Start during the 2008-2009 school year. Ricardo is a 5 year old little boy who loves to play with blocks and build towers. When he first came to Head Start, he did not talk very much, and struggled to communicate with his teachers and his peers.

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