By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Miller, Executive Director at The Parenting PATH
Raising children can be very tough! All moms know this. And it can be especially tough when parents face additional challenges with employment, housing, transportation, healthcare or isolation. At The Parenting PATH (Positive Actions, Thriving Homes), formerly known as Exchange SCAN, we want to make sure families have all of the best parenting resources available to manage the stresses of parenting, and work together to build thriving homes for children. We know parents love their children and want the best for them, but finding the right resources can be difficult. The Parenting PATH works to prevent and treat child abuse by strengthening families, enhancing parent child relationships and creating safer, more stable communities.
“Before The Parenting PATH Staff arrived, we were unable to sit in the same room and talk. Since she has worked with our family, we have been able to talk through issues. We have been through traditional counseling, but limited scheduling made it difficult to work on issues. We are very grateful that The Parenting PATH was sent our way.” – A Parenting PATH Client
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) shows that preventing and treating child maltreatment is one of the best ways to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of a child throughout their lifetime. The Parenting PATH provides home visiting to families needing support, or where there is the risk of abuse or neglect to children. Home visitation has a statistically significant effect on reducing infant mortality, particularly preventable-cause mortality for children living in highly disadvantaged situations. Our home visiting programs, including Welcome Baby, promote a strong maternal-child relationship, reducing the number of unusual medical events, particularly for families who might have unique challenges during developmental stages because of conditions such as premature birth, limited resources because of poverty, and maternal mental health problems.
Sarah was referred to the Welcome Baby program after her son Thomas was born. The teen mother was a junior at a local high school and was unable to return to school after Thomas’s birth. Sarah and her son lived with her parents who provided her food and shelter, but no other support. Sarah was frustrated with her family and felt isolated and trapped by her circumstances. After being referred to the Welcome Baby program, Sarah and Thomas received weekly visits from the Welcome Baby staff. These visits helped reduce Sarah’s feeling of isolation and connected her to resources in the community.
Sarah was determined to graduate from high school but her parents were unwilling to assist with childcare and unable to provide Sarah with school supplies. The Welcome Baby staff found community resources to fill Sarah’s book bag and to enroll Thomas in a child-care facility. Sarah credits the Welcome Baby program with giving her hope and helping her to graduate from high school.
Our agency recognizes that caring for children is a challenging proposition, even in the best of circumstances. There may be periods of stress, grief, frustration, and isolation. We want parents and caregivers to know that it is normal to feel this way and that they are not alone. The Parenting PATH is here to help.
The Parenting PATH reaches over 1,200 families in 10 counties in northwest North Carolina each year. We have served the region since 1981. Our main office is located in Winston-Salem, NC, serving Forsyth and surrounding counties. A satellite office in Dobson serves our clients and families in Surry County.
“Staff helped me understand decision-making and my child is the top priority. I make smarter decisions. She helped me get my new job. I am grateful for this program.” – A Parenting PATH Client
How can you help? There are several ways to support families in the Triad! Monetary donations are a great way to keep our programs running. We are always in need of donations of diapers and wipes, particularly larger sized diapers. Please contact our office for volunteer opportunities. We are always delighted to share more information about our work so we can reach more families and grow our capacity to serve them. Let us know if you would like for us to speak with a group! Also, please like and follow us on Facebook. Thank you!