When Megan Davis said “it takes a village to raise a child, and I choose to be an actively participating member of my village” this statement clearly reflects the commitment and values of Parenting Village in Rochester, New York. I had the honor to talk with Becky Jagla, one of the dedicated volunteer board members, about this incredible organization.
“It takes a village to raise a child, this is true. But it also takes a village to be a human, to feel connected, to thrive.” Beauty from Burnt Toast
2013 was the year that Parenting Village began. In looking at what is going on in our world and community, a group of caring adults came together to provide support to parents and caregivers. Raising a child is a wonderful, amazing, stressful, and tough. It can be isolating and you can feel all alone. Parenting Village began with the mission to “foster the health and wellbeing of children and families in the Rochester area by offering support and connection for ALL families.” If you are a parent or caregiver who is looking for support, Parenting Village will give it to you. This organization honors the expertise and ideas that people who utilize the program bring to this village. They know when parents and caregivers are stronger together the health and wellbeing of children and families becomes stronger as well.
When I talked to Becky, I was wowed by the plethora of support Parenting Village offers at no charge to parents and guardians in the Rochester community, with one paid staff member and 27 volunteers who participate in a variety of roles at Parenting Village. There are three primary supports offered by Parenting Village: Circles, Nurture, and Connection.
“Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro
Circles are peer-based support groups led by trained facilitators for parents and caregivers. The virtually held Circle support groups are thoughtfully decided according to age groups and needs of the parents and caregivers. The Circle support groups provide a safe space for parents and caregivers to talk about the joys and challenges of parenting. Group members can share experiences and ask for advice or strategies with other parents and caregivers who understand. Circles are held at times that are parent/caregiver friendly such as after bedtime or during lunch break. Parenting Village works hard to minimize any hurdles that parents or caregivers might face to make Circles support groups accessible. Nurture is an in-home peer support program. If you have a child under one year old, a pair of Parenting Village’s trained volunteers will come to your home to provide weekly support for three months, giving the parent or guardian a much needed break to take a shower, do some laundry, or have a cup of coffee with one of the volunteers. Parenting Village honors the energy required to bring a child into the world, and they seek to nurture the parents who undertake this vital responsibility. Connection organizes events for families to attend and gives the families an opportunity to connect. Events include their annual Family Fest where community vendors come together to share resources for families, Additionally Parenting Village offers workshops, adults only game nights , and family hikes.. Parenting Village has begun to offer regularly scheduled Sunday meet-ups for single parents and their children. These meet-ups provide single parents and caregivers a place to receive support from other people who understand what it is like when the majority of child- raising falls on them.
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot: together we can do great things.” Mother Teresa
Parenting Village builds connections and works collaboratively with other organizations. Inclusion and diversity are core values of this group. They welcome with open arms any adult who is raising a child or children to their Village. Decisions and actions are taken thoughtfully and with compassion. They are fierce in their dedication and commitment to help parents and guardians know they are not alone, that there is the Village of people who are there for you. In talking with Becky, who had utilized the support of Parenting Village, to now being an active volunteer, it was clear to see and understand the respect and gratitude she has for Parenting Village.
“Let’s root for each other and watch each other grow.” Unknown
Parenting Village provides all these services on a slender budget yet there is still more support they want to give. Shawna, the one paid staff person, supports the Nurture Program by matching volunteers with parents and caregivers seeking support. She also trains volunteers, completes intake interviews and does all things Nurture. This hardy group survives on fundraisers and are creative with their resources. Feedback is taken seriously by Board members to determine if there are actions Parenting Village could take to meet other parenting needs. Becky shared the need of Parenting Village is to have someone who could apply for and write grants because additional funding would allow them to help more families, more children, along with more parents and caregivers. Volunteers are always welcome. This group is mindful of not maxing out the support their volunteers provide. Becky radiated a gratitude and appreciation for all that the volunteers do to help. For Parenting Village teamwork is what makes the dream work.
With honor, we shine our kindness champion spotlight on Parenting Village. This incredible group is the epitome of the quote by Gandhi “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Parenting Village values our precious parents and caregivers. Their support of parents and caregivers strengthens children, strengthens families, and strengthens community. Thank you Parenting Village for all you do and for bringing your awesome to the world.
To learn more about Parenting Village here is their information: