by Terry Schultz of Family Connections
Every month, we feature a United Way Partner Agency and the work they are doing, demonstrating the impact that donations to United Way of Sheboygan County are making. This month’s feature was submitted by Terry Schultz, ECC Trainer/Programs. Here’s their story:
“We are excited to announce that the Sheboygan County Parent Café is open to families in partnership with Family Connections, Sheboygan County Head Start, Rainbow Kids, and Lakeshore CAP! Sheboygan’s Parent Café Series begins June 27th and will meet again July 11th and 25th, 5:30pm-7:30pm at Bethany Reform Church, 1315 Washington Avenue. Space is limited and registration is required.
“Parent Cafés are open to any parent or caregiver. Parent Cafés provide a safe nurturing environment for parents to have intimate, authentic conversations about their families on ways in which to strengthen their families and communities. Parent Cafés assist families with enhancing their social and emotional skills. Additionally, families discuss active listening and responding to challenging situations as opposed to reacting. Through the parent café process, parents are encouraged to acquire the leadership skills necessary to engage, train, and lead Parent Cafes within our community.
“The café approach allows service providers to connect with parents that honors what parents already know, who they already are, what they’ve learned and experienced, and how this collective wisdom is a strength and essential to success in their roles as parents. There is no expert instructing parents on what they should do. In fact, giving advice is discouraged. The café encourages parents to consider their parenting practices, and how to enhance the development and growth of all family members, not only children. As parents support one another, learn more about child development and community resources, families form protective factors needed for resiliency to raise healthy and happy children. Protective factors are evidence based and mitigate the negative impacts of trauma, reduce abuse and neglect among children, and encourages parents to seek support.
“Sheboygan County Head Start Community Coordinator, John Ashenmacher announced that, ‘Caregivers, such as foster parents through Sheboygan Health and Human Services, are welcome to attend and may count their participation as training hours.’ ‘Not only do the parents and children build relationships with one another, the families build relationships with area service providers,’ said Terri Schultz.
“Each session is theme-based and asks questions for parents to discuss. For example, the first café session theme is ‘Taking Care of Yourself.’ As parents share their experiences around the theme, children participate in developmentally and age-appropriate activities. The Parent Café includes a healthy family-style dinner and quality childcare for all children. If needed, limited voucher assistance is available to support transportation cost for families.”
Funding is through Supporting Family Together Association - Mary Alphonse Bradley Fund, and the United Way of Sheboygan County’s annual investment in Family Connections’ - Child Care Resource Development Program for child development training. For more information or to register, please contact Terri Schultz at Family Connections, 920-457-1999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.