By Christopher Tobutt
Every week in John Gray Memorial Church Hall, the Women’s Fellowship, meet to help and support young parents; mostly moms but some dads too. It is called the Young Parents’ Outreach Programme.
Everyone who is a parent knows how tough it is to be a good one. Of course it is much tougher if there is just one of you instead of two, and tougher still if you do not have a proper job or steady income. Young parents come every week to get things like diapers, wipes, sometimes some formula, too as well as car safety seats that have been outgrown, and often, especially around Christmas time, some very nice toys, too, which have all been donated. But more importantly, they come to encourage one another and meet with the older women who run the fellowship. The Fellowship is really like a great big family, offering sisterly and motherly advice, and the young parents love to come and listen. Sometimes, too there are visiting speakers who come from different government agencies.
Carol Ann Ebanks, President of the Fellowship, explained: “Every Saturday we distribute disposable diapers and wipes and sometimes formula, as well as odds-and-ends of clothing that the customers bring in, that we share and recycle. Today we had the Family Resource Centre representative Miles Ruby and she did a session on Parenting for the young ladies.”
Ms Ruby spoke on several topics, including, the importance of parenting from a place of control, and how as parents when we change our response to our children from negative to positive, we can potentially have more positive outcomes. Her talk also covered the way that, when our kids trigger us, how our thoughts directly affect our feelings and behavior towards them, and how we can challenge those unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts about our children and parenting with ones that are more helpful and realistic, in order to be able to parent from a place of control and calm.
One of the programme founders, Darlene Glidden, said that the Fellowship is planning to partner with the Family Resource Centre more in the future, making a regular date for a speaker every third Saturday in the month. “We also plan to start doing some evening sessions for the girls; maybe they have a job they can go to so they can’t stay for the normal session,” she explained. We want to give those girls an opportunity to know about the resource Centre and also know about the session on parenting and other things that they need, because they can’t always get to town, to the resource Centre office,” she said. “We have also partnered with other areas of government such as WORC. They came and sat with the girls and registered the ones that were unemployed, because again the office is in town and the Government doesn’t have any district offices for these services; and the girls can’t always get to town; and not everyone has a computer.
“A lot of us are older. We have been there. Probably may not have found ourselves in the same position that they’re in, but we have been through struggles and situations.”