It’s All About Relationships! Parents Supporting Each Other in 2020 and Beyond
Wow! What a powerful coalition meeting! We started off by having our parents share a Christmas Family Tradition. There were so many amazing traditions our parents shared. There was sugar cookie making with grandparents, family game night, adult Secret Santa, opening a gift on Christmas Eve and having a special “non-traditional” Christmas dinner to name a few.
We played This or That Christmas Edition with our parents choosing between holiday favorites: Eggnog or Hot Cocoa; Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston; White Christmas or Tropical Christmas; Real Tree or Fake Tree. It was a hoot seeing their favorites! Overwhelmingly, White Christmas won over Tropical Christmas. Surprisingly, there are those select few people that need to have snow on Christmas Day. I loved having a White Christmas as a child, but as the years have passed by, I have learned I’m okay with no snow. I’m a summer girl and definitely not a fan of the cold or snow!
We love the leadership shown by our parents. One of our parent representatives, Cara, shared with the group the work happening with the workgroups she is a part of bringing the important voice of the parent to. She spoke on the work Nurturing Parent Power (NPP) and Behavioral Mental Health workgroups are engaging in to support our community. One key initiative of the NPP workgroup is the Ready4K texting application. Ready4K is an amazing educational texting app for parents that is evidence based to improve childhood educational outcomes. Parents receive two to three texts per week with educational tips they can do with their children. Parents can sign up for this amazing resource at www.successstartsearly.org for FREE!
Next, Nicole, parent representative – soon to be parent liaison, shared about BeStrong’s 5 protective factors to set the stage for our parent café breakout session: All About Relationships. After the brief introduction, our parents joined two different breakout sessions to discuss parent café questions related to Relationships & Social Connections.
Once the group came back together parents were invited to share their take-aways from the café. One parent shared that the café was very supportive and that she may need a moment to gather herself due to the rich conversation. Another parent shared that the café allowed her to see things from a different point of view. Another parent shared the café provided a safe space to learn from one another and to lean on one another. It was amazing to hear how impactful the cafés were to the parents in such a short period of time.
We all know that 2020 has been a year filled with more challenges than many of us care to name, let alone remember. To end our meeting on a high note, we asked our parents to share a bright spot that they experienced in 2020 and their responses are enough to encourage anyone!
2020 Bright Spots
- Thankful that the work of the coalition and the Great Start Collaborative workgroups were still able to continue [during COVID] to make our community better.
- Thankful for the support that we are able to give each other.
- A few of our parents shared that they either received a promotion at work or were offered new job opportunity in 2020.
- The success of the diaper drive of the Great Start Parent Coalition was amazing and making sure that “every butt is covered” was a huge initiative of 2020.
- COVID allowed one of our parents the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with her daughter who had previously been in childcare.
- There was a baby born and another baby on the way.
- COVID also brought into perspective the importance of staying in touch more with family and friends. Either through text or a phone call. Reaching out when someone is on your mind and making an effort to stay in touch instead of waiting.
- The generosity of people coming together to help others during COVID was amazing. One parent’s daughter was able to participate in a project at school to collect and donate socks to the homeless. Their goal was 1200-1500 pairs of socks and they doubled that!
- Last, but not definitely not least, one of our parents shared that the highlight of 2020 for her was graduating from COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues). COFI is leadership program that empowers parents to become even greater leaders!
Overall, this meeting was powerful, encouraging and truly an amazing time of bonding! So thankful for all that our coalition has accomplished in 2020 and looking forward to even greater things for this amazing group of parents in 2021!!