It’s kind of funny how they just send you home from the hospital with this baby with full confidence that you can parent it. Hilarious, really. I have a Master’s degree in this stuff and I was no more prepared for parenthood than Cardi B is to teach Sunday School. Motherhood is full of joy, love, and adventure. It can also be rife with isolation, fear, and more questions than answers. If only there were a place where a parent could get support in the company of other parents in the same boat.
Enter the Parent Education Consortium.
Parent Education Consortium was birthed in 1999 out of a need to support parents from all walks of life while removing barriers to accessing that help. In 20 years the organization has grown to serve over 10,000 families with zero cost to those families. They provide their services FREE of charge. I sat down with their director, Morgan Bryant to see what it’s all about!
Who does your organization serve?
We serve any family in Linn County with at least one child aged 0-5. We operate on the notion that all parents need support and that parenting struggles are universal and not limited to any one socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, religious belief or family makeup. Our grant funding through Early Childhood Iowa allows us to provide our services free of charge for all participants. Families can expect a warm, welcoming environment with qualified facilitators, caring childcare providers, a nutritious meal and great activities.
We offer workshops on general parenting education, and specialized curriculum centered on co-parenting, STEM and positive discipline as well as fun workshops that incorporate art and cooking! There really is something for everyone, all families are unique and we are here for all of them!
How do you make a difference in the Cedar Rapids area?
It is easy to feel alone in parenting and asking for help can be difficult. We provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment where parents can take advantage of evidence-based information to help them on their parenting journey while connecting with other parents in the same boat. We can link families with other services and resources in Linn County to assist with basic needs, mental health, early access to education, and so much more.
There is so much information out there about how to raise our children and it can become overwhelming to know what is reputable and comes from a trusted source. It’s our goal to bring that trusted information to parents and answer any specific questions they may have regarding their child.
In a world where social media and technology are front and center, our workshops offer an opportunity for families to connect face to face. I often hear that one of the participants’ favorite things about our workshops is hearing that other parents are struggling too, allowing them to breathe a sigh of relief and realize they aren’t in this alone.
How are families able to take advantage of your services?
Families can view our current workshops and register via our website: www.parenteducationconsortium.com. We also have a variety of resources on our website and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/parentediowa). We like to share information about parenting, community resources and have an ongoing Parenting on Purpose segment each month with fun tips for parents. Folks can always give us a call at 319-540-2426, send us a message on Facebook, or email me directly at [email protected] we are always looking to learn more about what families with young children would like to see in terms of parent education in the community.
How can families get involved to help your organization?
Families can get involved by registering for a workshop, or getting in touch with us regarding hosting a workshop! Most of our workshops take place throughout the community and we are always looking for new partnerships. We provide the facilitator, childcare, materials, and meals; all we ask is for space and a partnership with our host site to provide a great environment for folks to come and learn.
Did you guys know this organization existed? I feel like it’s been a pretty well-kept secret in the Cedar Rapids area. So look them up, like them on Facebook, and get your parent education on!
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