A Friday ritual. A photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment we want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.
“The holidays bring joy to our family. No matter what we’re going through, it’s a time where we all come together.”
“I love the holidays, but the financial strain is always a cause of stress for us. Why does it always have to be about giving and getting things?”
“Every time the snow flies I’m reminded of my trauma. The memories come flooding back and I can’t focus of any of the ‘cheer’ everyone’s always talking about. My kids are so excited and I’m just in a fog.”
“Presents!!! I need to feel like I can give my kids more than I was given when I was young.”
“I don’t know what this year will be like in my foster home. I’m really sad I can’t be with my parents this year. Are they OK? What will they do without me?”
“This is the first time Daddy’s not here for a holiday. I think about him all the time, but it feels even harder right now.”
When thinking about the holiday season, many of us may think about joy, family, gifts, time off, and inevitably, that holiday stress. However, for many of SPCC’s families, the holidays are not only a time of stress, but might also be representative of a family that was once whole. Due to foster care placement, separation, or even the death of a loved one, kids may be reminded of loss, and the holiday now is a time that elicits continued pain and mourning. Parents may be reminded of their own childhood trauma, and worry about being better parents to their children than their parents were to them. Not only do we see that tangible needs increase during this season, but often emotional and therapeutic needs increase as well.
This year at SPCC, we took a long, hard look at our holiday project and thought about what the families we work with really “need” in a broader sense. Some families need the ability to give their children gifts, while other families need increased therapeutic support during this often difficult time of year. Some families are best supported through the support of the program they work with, where relevant therapeutic tools are available, or staff can be available on an emergency basis any day of the week.
We often find that some of our families need urgent financial help at other times throughout the year, so a “client emergency fund” might help with a security deposit for a victim of domestic violence to secure housing for her and her kids; or perhaps being able to purchase a child’s school supplies in September would be meaningful. The reality is, we can’t always predict what our families need and when they will need it, but we can be thoughtful and work towards being able to support their emotional, physical, and tangible needs as they arise, not only during the holiday season, but in the year to come.
We are constantly touched by the generosity and care of our SPCC supporters. This year, we have developed a more thoughtful list of ways you can support the parents and kids of SPCC, which will help ensure that we’re helping where it’s needed most:
- Give a monetary donation to the agency. This gift will support a child who needs our services throughout the coming year. To help you conceptualize what your gift will truly provide, and to know that your donation really matters to the families we serve, the following are a few examples:
$25 will provide therapeutic tools needed to help children overcome the trauma of witnessing their parent being battered so they can grow to be healthy and happy adults.
$50 to $100 will provide an emergency home visit and therapeutic support to a family who has just experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a child or parent.
$500 will provide an emergency security deposit for a mother leaving a violent partner, and establish a safe home for her and her children.
$1,000 will provide a full year of services to a teen parent and their family, during which, they will receive weekly home-based support to help them establish safe housing, overcome past trauma and abuse, return to school, gain independence, and uncover the skills to improve the lives of their children.
- Donate Tops, Wegmans, or Walmart gift cards…
These can be used by families struggling to provide food for their children any time of the year.
- Provide a meaningful gift…
This can be provided by an individual, a family, a group, or place of business. You will be sent a card that represents a real child/children in one of SPCC’s programs. These gifts will comprise a “store” where parents and guardians can select the items most needed by their individual child. (Donations to the “store” are due by the first week of December so we can be up and running for shopping the weeks before the holidays!)
- Sponsor an SPCC Program…
Join with family or friends to sponsor a program. You indicate which program, and SPCC will provide a description of the needs of the program, as well as whom you can contact with specific questions.
- Organize a gift drive…
Host a party with family, friends, or neighbors. Individuals can make an even greater impact by gathering friends together, with proceeds going to support SPCC families. If you are interested in planning an event and would like to use agency materials, brainstorm event ideas, or simply have an SPCC representative at your event, please let us know!
This week we were thrilled to connect with our very own, Emily Horowitz, as she graciously shared valuable insight and information about the way parents are supported (or unsupported) in today’s society.
Emily is blogging for us today under her role as the Founder and Board President of Parenting Village., which is a unique organization that aims to foster the healthy development of children and families in the Rochester area by offering connection and support for expecting, new, and experienced parents.
Becoming a parent is a major transition that touches all domains of a person’s life and leaves many people wondering where to turn for support. We’ve repeatedly heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child,” yet Americans are far less socially and geographically connected today than we were just one generation ago, leaving many people to feel alone and unsupported in their transition to parenthood. Postpartum Depression continues to touch numerous families in the community as they make their way into parenthood and affects mothers, fathers, and their relationships with their infants. Parents struggle with the demands of busy lives that are increasingly isolated, offering less time for social connection, camaraderie, and an opportunity to learn and grow together as parents and families.
Oftentimes parents learn contradictory information about child-rearing and child-development from multiple sources and feel particularly insecure about their choices and decisions. Many mothers and fathers struggle with various aspects of their parenting journey, including massive changes in their identities, shifts in their primary relationships, and overall feelings of competency. Sometimes parents want to offer a different paradigm of child-rearing to their children than the one that they received, but do not have the tools or models to reference as they explore what those changes will look like. Meanwhile, a majority of new parents who struggle in their transition identify feeling alone in their struggles, and often express a sense of shame or feelings of inadequacy. Many new mothers and fathers find themselves saying “I didn’t think this would be so hard,” or “Everyone else seems to be doing just fine.” The lack of meaningful support and connection creates a community where people are hesitant to share their challenges with one another, lest they be judged because of their struggles.
Parenting Village is new nonprofit in the Rochester area that seeks to mitigate these various challenge of modern-day parenting. The organization increases social connection and decreases isolation among local families so that all parents and their children may thrive. Here at Parenting Village, we know that connection and support are not luxuries afforded to the lucky few, but are essential components of raising healthy families. With drop-in groups, parent-to-parent home based-visitation programs, workshops, and community collaborations, we ensure that no family feels alone, unsupported, uninformed, or isolated in their parenting journey. We believe that when parents are connected and supported, when they have the opportunity to create the ‘village’ that they truly need, they in turn are able to give the best of themselves to their children. For more information about Parenting Village’s services or programs in development, please see our website at www.ourparentingvillage.org, or visit us on Facebook!