“As an outreach office collaborations are important to us and we work diligently to create strategic partnerships that benefit the families we serve,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “We previously had the Advocacy Center come to one of our Grandparents As Parents Program support groups to provide psychoeducation to our grandparents. In return, the Advocacy Center asked if we would be interested in a group specifically geared towards our children.”
Davilla said the Advocacy Center hosted groups last year to connect children and their caregivers and received positive feedback so they were excited about having them back this summer. She explained that during the summer months, they like to break from the traditional support group model to offer interactive groups for parents and children. Along with the presentations, they have also met at splash pads at the park as well as hosted a family day at Hawaiian Falls water park.
“We were interested in offering these groups to our families for several reasons,” she said. “One reason is that the summer months can be stressful for both kids and caregivers. We wanted to give families something fun to look forward to and something for them to do together. Additionally, families are often concerned about their children keeping appropriate boundaries as well as bullying. We felt like an interactive group could be a good way to start talking about these topics in a safe and playful way.”
Sara Beth Stoltzfus, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco, said many of her families had expressed a lot of interest in the topics of boundaries and bullying. During the presentations, the children participated in activities using props such as balloons, hula hoops and colors to learn about safe touch, empathy, using your voice, encouraging diversity and showing respect and teamwork.
“We heard so many of the children sharing reflective comments about bullying or being bullied and how they should treat their friends and peers,” Stoltzfus said. “Our presenters did a great job at creating an environment for all children to participate. Even our shy ones were able to be silly and speak up confidently!”
|Sarah Hopping from the Advocacy Center|