What are Parent Cafés?
At Great Circle, we work to help families discover and use their individual inner strengths to increase the health, happiness and stability of their own homes. Parent Cafés are an example of a program that melds each parent’s unique experiences and abilities with an opportunity to learn from each other in collaborative fashion.
Parent Cafés are the brainchild of Be Strong Families, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping families grow stronger from the inside out. Great Circle began offering Cafés in 2020 to parents living in central and south central Missouri. The plan for 2021 is to expand them into other Missouri and eastern Kansas regions.
Here’s how Parent Cafés work: Parents come together for the trainer-led workshop (often held on a weekend day) that is focused around a specific theme or topic, such as parental resilience, social connections or child development. It’s a space where parents can feel comfortable speaking openly about these issues, build a support network with other parents who are also focused on strengthening their family, as well as working “upstream” to get ahead of problems before they reach a crisis level.
Beatrice Stewart, director of community-based services and who oversees the Parent Cafés in central Missouri, believes “parent” is the program’s key element. “It’s truly parent led,” she says, “with professionals only here as support. The parents who participate become friends. Then they invite their friends to future cafés, and the program’s impact continues to grow. Every parent I’ve seen go through this workshop has loved the experience and wanted to do more. And what they are really doing is building skills that can last a lifetime.”
How can I participate?
Thanks to funding from community partners, Parent Cafés are free to attend. And because each one focuses on a specific theme, parents can participate in more than one workshop, each time building new and different skills.