Members of the Parents Support Circle have the opportunity to share stories, exchange strategies, and simply encourage each other along the journey. — Submitted photo

Parent support circle in Coombs welcomes new members

Parenting can be one of life’s greatest joys, but it is also one of life’s greatest challenges.

There’s a group called Parent Support Circle that has formed in Coombs with the goal of providing safe, confidential space for parents to connect with each other.

Over a hot beverage, members have the opportunity to share stories, exchange strategies, and simply encourage each other along the journey. Anyone who is acting as a child’s legal guardian is welcome to come.

The creation of the group is a collaboration between the Parent Support Services (PSS) and Arrowsmith Community Recreation Association (ACRA). They’ve been working together since November last year to bring the program to the community. It is being held on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8 p.m.

Since PSS was founded 45 years ago, they have established more than 30 support circles across the province. Some groups have only been running for a few weeks, while others have been regularly attended for over 20 years. Each circle is facilitated by a trained volunteer, many of whom began as participants.

Program co-ordinator Sandi Halvorson has been a part of PSS for more than 20 years.

“Parents really benefit from sharing their experiences and learning from each other in a supportive environment,” Halvorson said about the program. “Participants tell us often how groups were a ‘life-saver’ for them.”

Last year, PSS conducted an anonymous survey that analyzed their programs over the past year. Members reported that the circle was more than a place to talk; it’s also a place to learn, listen, and form life-ong friendships. For many, being connected to a group of people who were having the exact same experiences at home encouraged them to find new ways of communicating with their child that resulted in healthier relationships.

“Coming to these meetings made me realize that we are all struggling in some way or another,” said one parent who was surveyed.

Every circle is different. Some will stick to a format of weekly sharing while others may wish to occasionally invite experts to share information about valuable community resources. All parents need support, and the program is designed to be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of each group.

For more information about joining a parent circle, connect with Sandi Halvorson at parent@telus.net or by phone at 250-468-9658.

— NEWS Staff

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