At Childreach, we recognize that parenting isn’t a solo effort and that all parents need a little support along the way. Knowing where to go is often what prevents families from getting the help they need. My role as a Parent Support Educator is to try to take the guesswork out of getting the support they need by removing as many barriers to services as possible.
All of our parenting programs and parent-child programs at Childreach are offered free of charge to everyone in the community. We offer flexible hours to accommodate the schedules of caregivers and parents and give individualized support in person, through e-mail or over the phone at the parent’s convenience. No childcare? No problem. We offer childminding during sessions and meetings too. No transportation? We can meet at your local library or Family Centre.
To further break down barriers, we partner with community agencies in each neighbourhood in order to make sure that each family has their needs met in the best way possible. Meeting families where they’re at is the goal, and when I meet with a family, I want them to feel as though they are being welcomed into my living room, and that’s exactly what happened a few months ago.
When we started thinking about how our parent meeting space was being perceived by families, we heard things like clinical, cold and uninviting. And it was. Parents would sit across the table from me, hands folded, backs straight as if at an interview. Relationship building was hard in that environment and in order to do what I love to do, I knew that we needed to make a change. So we added a few recliners, a bookshelf, some plants and a coffee maker. Simple things, that took next to no effort. But the impact that it has had has been huge. The first mom to have a meeting in that revamped space began crying after I invited her to sit down and offered her a cup of coffee. She said no one had ever served her like that before. We had a fantastic meeting that day, and as she left, she hugged me with tears still in her eyes said “thank you for caring and taking the time to really listen.”
So come on over, take a seat in one of our recliners, have a cup of coffee and let’s chat.
For a calendar of all of our parent learning opportunities and parent-child activities, visit us at: http://childreach.on.ca/
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