Luzerne County Head Start (LCHS) recently started its Parent Café program as a way to build lasting connections and establish a safe and supportive environment for parents/caregivers of the children LCHS serves. The program is offered through “Be Strong Families” a nonprofit organization that works to nurture the spirit of family, promote well-being and prevent violence. Parent Cafes are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Participants explore their strengths, learn about Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families.
A team of six including LCHS’s family engagement team, assistant executive director and one parent participated in a 3-day training in August of 2020 to be certified to conduct Parent Cafés within Luzerne County Head Start. Since August, LCHS has held four cafés with families from our Edwardsville center. Three more cafés are planned for the spring at another location within the agency. Another team of five from LCHS, including three family workers, two family educators and one parent recently received training. They, too, are now able to facilitate Parent Cafés across the agency.
The Parent Café program falls in line with LCHS’s vision, which supports children growing and thriving in a nurturing environment of parents, family, neighborhood, and community where they and their families have options and opportunities for optimum growth, development, and learning.