Parent Cafés strengthen area families
posted on March 27, 2013
This fall, over 100 Quad City parents participated in a series of “Parent Cafés”. A Parent Café offers a combination of knowledge and mutual support building related to the challenges of parenting. The project was funded through a partnership of the Community Foundation, United Way of the Quad Cities Area, and the Riverboat Development Authority and supported by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Scott County office, and the AOK Children’s Network.
The cafés were offered by entities that already serve parents in some way, including: Augustana College in partnership with Longfellow Liberal Arts Elementary School; the Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living in partnership with NAACP Rock Island Branch; Friendly House in partnership with both Genesis Bright Beginnings and Building Forever Families; Blackhawk College in partnership with Rock Island County Jail; RISD Head Start in partnership with Broadway Presbyterian Church; and Child Care Resource & Referral in partnership with The Salvation Army. Partnering entities received small grants to help the partners pay for meals, transportation, and child care services – all of which act as barriers to parents getting together.
Parents met at schools, churches, service providers, and even the jail, to talk about raising their children. Not typical “parent education” sessions, Parent Cafés are designed to help parents learn from each other. A main goal of this project is to help reduce the isolation that many parents in our community experience. Some of the parents attending the Cafés reported that they had no family or friends they could count on; the Cafés gave them a start at making positive connections with other parents. Many said they learned that they are not alone; “…other people are going through the same things I am.”