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Melissa Elliott cuts the ribbon to officially open a new lactation station inside the Parents as Teachers portion of the Hillsdale Learning Center. Elliott’s family members and Paola USD 368 Superintendent Matt Meek were some of the other guests at the celebration, which also was to honor Elliott’s 17 years with the Parents as Teachers program.

HILLSDALE — Melissa Elliott has dedicated much of her life to teaching children and helping young parents, so it was fitting that one of her last duties with the Parents as Teachers program was helping to open a new lactation room for mothers in Hillsdale.

Elliott spearheaded the effort to secure funding for the room through the Our Tomorrows program at the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships & Research.

The room, which gives breastfeeding mothers a private and relaxing place to feed their babies, was unveiled late last year during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

It is now a registered lactation station with the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, and members of the community are invited to use it inside the Hillsdale Learning Center at 22795 W. 255th St.

The ceremony also served as a farewell party for Elliott, who has been with Parents as Teachers for the past 17 years. Elliott recently decided to step away so she can take classes to become an occupational therapy assistant.

Callie Peace, director of the Parents as Teacher program that serves eight local school districts, said Elliott has been a valuable member of the program.

Elliott will leave many lasting impacts, including starting the Block Fest events that have become popular play sessions for parents and their children.

Windi Moore and her 2-year-old daughter, Virginia, were two of the many guests who stopped by to wish Elliott farewell during her celebration.

Windi said Elliott taught her oldest child at Paola Preschool, and they have many fond memories.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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