This past year has seen the Hawthorne Place Community in Independence, Missouri moving in a new and expanded direction as the Hawthorne Place Community Center project is completed. Hawthorne Places’ mission to improve quality of life always comes first. It’s not just a saying that hangs on the wall. It is a genuine commitment shared by the board and staff. So, during the past year, efforts have been made to reach as many residents as possible with housing, social services, health, community safety, technology and wellness programs developed to meet identified needs.
One of those groups helping this low-income community was the Independence, Missouri Parents Anonymous Group. A Parents Anonymous (PA) support group can have a tremendously positive impact on an individual. Co-chairs from the Cler-Mont Randall Community Partnership – Nina Falls and Adaire Stewart – had the opportunity to attend a Parents Anonymous group. After sitting in on one PA group they were convinced that PA is something that is needed in Independence.
Through much deliberation and long planning meetings, a training event was planned for March 22, 2004 whereby there were trained facilitators and parent leaders to kick off the first Parents Anonymous meeting April 19, 2004. Thirteen parents have been supported through Parents Anonymous in the past four months. There have been new participants monthly. Recruitment for PA is ongoing. According to the Program Bulletin from Parents Anonymous, “All parents have the capacity for positive change and a critical factor in their change process is the opportunity to transform their attitudes and behaviors and to learn and practice new skills in a supportive environment”. Parents are taking on a stronger role in schools and in the community.
The facilitators saw another need come from the Parents Anonymous group – a children’s program. The Children’s Program is a place where children give and get support from one another. The Children’s Program staff assists children in building health relationships. They learn positive ways of interacting, problem solving, and supporting gone another. Hawthorne Parents Anonymous has begun branching out to local faith based organizations. They are planning have their parent support group in operation by September 1.
Change happens slowly and the word is getting our about Parents Anonymous. This group is providing support and encouragement for parents dealing with the stress of parenting. They provide a place to freely discuss difficulties in raising children. They provide a program for children that are structured to work on self-esteem, cooperative play and confidence building. Finally, this group has provided a network of parents to assist each other with everyday needs, including childcare, phone contact, and support and caring.