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September 2013

Welcome to Leader Online, an e-newsletter for Active Parenting leaders and educators. Here you'll find ideas to make your job a little easier. Are you a "leader in action"? Please share your tips, photos, or success stories by sending a note to our marketing team.

Active Parenting leader in action: Carrie Little of Family & Children's Services

Carrie sharing parenting advice on "Great Day Green Country"
  Tell us a little about yourself and Family & Children's Services.
My name is Carrie Little and I am the Education and Community Relations Manager at Family & Children’s Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Family & Children’s Services provides life-changing behavioral health services to the most vulnerable people in our community. We heal abused children, strengthen families in crisis, and set people suffering from mental illness and addiction on the path to recovery. The Family Life Education department offers healthy parenting and relationship classes. Our classes help clients learn effective strategies, acquire new skills and develop techniques to improve parenting and relationships. We serve approximately 5,000 parents and individuals in the Tulsa metro area.

How have you used Active Parenting programs to reach families?
The primary curriculum for our healthy parenting classes is Active Parenting. We offer a wide variety of the Active Parenting courses: 1,2,3,4 Parents!, Active Parenting Now, Active Parenting of Teens, Active Parenting for Stepfamilies, and Cooperative Parenting and Divorce. We offer these classes in the evening hours, three days a week. We also will travel around the Tulsa area, offering classes in different locations to serve as many people who want the classes as possible.

What have the leaders liked about leading Active Parenting courses?
We chose the Active Parenting curriculum for a couple of reasons. These courses are well known, and evidence based. Family & Children’s Services is committed to providing only curriculum that is evidence based and has been rigorously tested. We love that the classes are skill based. Parents can come in each week and take home something they can use immediately.

What are some of the challenges you face with your parenting programs?
The challenge always lies in getting the course information to those who might need the information. We serve mostly at-risk families, who may move around a lot and who don’t have a lot of money. This makes it hard to track some of our clients. We offer scholarships for families who qualify, and this is one way we ensure that the classes are made available to everyone in the community regardless of income.

How do the parents respond to your classes?
We often have parents who are ordered to take our classes by a judge or a child welfare professional. These clients come into our program reserved and sometimes angry that they have to be with us. We find that after attending just a couple of our classes, most people find that they enjoy the classes and find the information to be of use to them. We pride ourselves in offering classes in a nice and accommodating space.

Our staff are friendly, open, and willing to help clients. When clients see where the classes are held, and experience the respect we show for them, they tend to better appreciate the material we teach. We track how effective our classes are by using pre- and post-tests, including an evaluation. At the end of one parenting class, a mother wrote this on her evaluation of the class, “I very much enjoyed all of the class, especially learning the stages of development and different styles of parenting. Most importantly, I’m now a better mom.”

What is the key to a successful parenting class?
I believe the keys to successful parenting classes are these:

  • Use best practice, evidence based curricula like Active Parenting.
  • Evaluate classes through use of pre/post tests and evaluations. Make changes as needed and remain flexible to clients needs.
  • Employ experienced and professional teachers. Our instructors are Master’s level professionals who have experience working in the mental health field and/or in educational settings.

How do you go about promoting your classes?
We have professionally made brochures that go out to our partner agencies on a regular basis. We have class specific flyers that staff distributes all over the area on a regular basis. We make sure that everyone in our agency is familiar with what we offer and can refer to us whenever they see the need. I have a regular weekly spot on a local TV talk show ("Great Day Green Country") to promote healthy parenting and relationship tips and to advertise our classes. We use videos from these appearances on our website and Facebook page to promote classes and services. (Here's a clip of Carrie's discussion of ADHD on "Great Day Green Country.")

Do you charge for your parenting classes?
We charge a fee for our classes. For those clients who cannot afford the fee, we offer a scholarship sliding fee scale based on income. Clients may either pay a partial fee, or can attend for free if they qualify.

What are your plans for the future?
In the future we hope to expand our programs to offer classes for kids to attend with parents. We are always searching for new partnerships to reach a larger portion of our community.

Thank you, Carrie!

Dr. Popkin and Mr. Presley

You never know who you'll find at the Active Parenting Training of Trainers
Yes, that's our own Dr. Michael Popkin crooning with Elvis at our Training of Trainers in Las Vegas this year. We enjoyed meeting excellent leaders this year, from near and far. Check out the photos on our Facebook page.

Plan now for 2014
Active Parenting's Training of Trainers (TOT) seminars provide three days of vigorous training that will help you expand your professional skills while learning to train new family educators. Mark your calendar for our next TOT in Atlanta: July 12-14, 2014. Save $100 by registering early! We can't promise you'll meet Elvis, but we can promise you'll meet his backup singer!

Dr. Popkin enjoys a "spirited" visit to Virginia

At right is a photo of the dynamic team from the City of Suffolk Early Childhood Development Commission that brought in Active Parenting's Dr. Michael Popkin to do a two-hour presentation on Taming the Spirited Child. He reports that they did a really great job with promotion, bringing out 250 parents for the event.

Among their promotion strategies were:

  • massive amounts of flyers
  • free light buffet dinner
  • a free book
  • child care
  • a 6:00 start time so people weren't tempted to go home after work and then get too tired to come back out.

This group leads Active Parenting classes and also encourages parents to go online to view the videos. The person in charge was Brenda O'Donnell (second from left in the picture), described by Dr. Popkin as "a bundle of energy and enthusiasm." That's a great trait for any leader!

Interested in bringing "Doc Pop" to your community for a talk or workshop? Find details on this page or give us a call.

A sample activity: star in a backwards film

Marian's latest pick:
Fun and Games for the 21st Century Family
Active Parenting has an in-house resource consultant, Marian Adair, who reviews hundreds of books and videos each year. Her goal is to find items to supplement your Active Parenting programming. She reviews each book or video to be sure the content is in keeping with Active Parenting principles. This month, Marian would like to point out a new book filled with activities using electronic devices found in many homes: everything from cell phones to toasters. Fun and Games for the 21st Century Family is written by two dads and now available from Active Parenting's catalog.

(Do you have a favorite parenting resource to recommend? Send the information to Marian so she can consider it for addition to our catalog: marian@activeparenting.com or fax to 770-429-0334)

Going to a conference this fall?
So are we! Stop by our booth to see what's new and to find out our special conference offer.
  • JCEP's Galaxy IV in Pittsburgh, September 15-19
  • Parents as Teachers in Atlanta, October 2-4 (Dr. Popkin will present a workshop about "The Special Needs of Spirited Children...and Their Parents" on Thursday
  • Georgia Conference on Children and Families in Marietta, November 12-14
  • Let us know if you are attending a conference you think we should attend too!

    Announcing a new web site for Work/Life solutions
    Are your employees finding it difficult to bridge that connection between home and work? Parenting, eldercare, financial difficulty, and paying for college are just a few of the many issues your employees face today. Active Parenting's Work/Life Connections is here to provide you with the resources and services your employees need to survive and thrive in today's hectic environment, and to make the connection between work and home more stress-free and enjoyable. Check out the new site!