One way Strengthening Families aims to support and strengthen families is through Parent Cafés. Parent Cafés happen on a monthly basis in comfortable, “natural” settings throughout the community. Parents in the community gather in small groups and participate in conversations about keeping their families strong, and discussions that enable them to make discoveries leading to personal growth and better parenting.
Parent Cafés provide an opportunity for parents and caregivers to interact with other parents and caregivers, and to discuss issues that are important to building and maintaining strong, healthy families. The Cafés are “hosted” by parents from the community who have been trained on how to help facilitate the conversation and discussion. The goals of these sessions are to help parents help each other to:
- Grow stronger and more flexible as they share challenging personal events and reflect on the actions taken in response, what happened as a result, and what was learned. Listening to each other brings the realization that all families face difficulties, and can survive them and become stronger as a result.
- Build friendships and relationships of mutual support in the process of having conversations with other parents and caregivers.
- Learn about resources and obtain support by reflecting on their barriers to receiving help, becoming more open to accessing help, and learning from other parents about support that has helped them.
- Add to parenting knowledge by listening to other parents and sharing ideas and approaches to common issues.
- Build appreciation for the essential role they play with each of their children in helping them achieve their potential.
A strong focus of the Parent Cafés will be on helping caregivers strengthen the protective factors identified in the Strengthening Families Model, including increasing parental resilience, strengthening social connections, identifying concrete resources within the community, increasing knowledge and understanding of child development, and on supporting the social and emotional competence of children and youth.