Polk County Parent Education Program Expands Bringing Together Polk and Yamhill

By Heather Smith & Miriam Corona Posted on 07/25/16

Polk County has provided high quality, evidence-based parent education to parents in all areas of the county since July 2011. On July 1, 2016 the Parent Education program will expand into Yamhill County through Yamhill Community Care thanks to an award from the Oregon Parent Education Collaborative (OPEC) Expansion Grant. The $100,000 grant will be used to coordinate parent education, increase the number of trained parent facilitators, and expand parent education to all the communities in both counties. This award is part of a multi-year initiative developed by The Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with the Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation, The Collins Foundation, and Oregon State University. Polk County Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler states, “We are proud of our staff for the successful service they have provided to Polk County residents over the years through the Parent Education Program. We are excited about the expanded partnership with Yamhill County to provide these same services to our citizens in the two County region.”

Organizations in Polk and Yamhill have partnered for the past three years with the Mid-Valley Parenting website (www.midvalleyparenting.org) to connect parents, caregivers, and the community with parenting classes, workshops, resources, and community family events. When discussing the opportunity to apply for the grant the discussion was natural. Jordan Robinson, Area Director of Lutheran Community Services Northwest, reports, “Making parent education a widely available service for all families will help ensure a brighter future for our children and our community. Expanding OPEC to Yamhill County is both an example of what we can accomplish by working together and smart and high return investment in our future success.”

Yamhill Community Care partners have offered parent education opportunities for a number of years, this expansion grant will bring to Yamhill the coordination that it has been missing and will bring to the community normalization of parent education. Suey Linzmeier, Executive Director of Head Start of Yamhill County, states “Yamhill County programs who work with families are very excited for this opportunity to partner with Polk County and expand on the work they have done so well to normalize parent education. We are really looking forward to the coordinated support to provide a suite of options to all families to strengthen their parenting skills and facilitate healthy connections with other families.”

One strategy to normalize parenting is to connect parent education to the local schools. McMinnville School District’s Director of Elementary and Federal Programs Kyra Donovan states, “The OPEC expansion will give Yamhill County an opportunity to expand our parenting programs to school-age children across our school districts. We are excited to continue to normalize parent education for all parents in the county.”

Parenting does not come with a handbook; the evidence-based parent education classes offered through the grant will help all parents gain some new tools for their parenting toolbox that include child development, setting rules, school readiness, positive discipline strategies, and most importantly self-care strategies for parents. Families will also be able to connect with other parents and learn that they are not alone in their parenting struggles. All parenting classes will be offered with a free meal and free child care. To learn more about parenting education, when the next class is offered, and to register for classes visit www.midvalleyparenting.org.

CONTACT:
For Polk County Contact: Heather Smith, Early Learning and Family Engagement Coordinator, Polk County 503-623-9664 ext 2368 smith.heather@co.polk.or.us

For Yamhill County Contact: Miriam Corona, Community Engagement Coordinator, Yamhill Community Care 503-455-8047 mcorona@yamhillcco.org




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