Parent support groups can share information about the disabilities of their children, school services, therapy, local policies, funding sources, transportation, medical facilities, emotional support and much more. If there aren’t any support groups locally that you feel as if you want to be a part of, you can look to start your own to help other like-minded parents. Here are our tips for starting a parent support group:
1. Energy and Time
Before even taking the necessary steps to begin forming this support group, it’s important to analyze your own situation in terms of the amount of energy and time you have to give. Starting a group takes a lot of commitment and if you end up becoming overwhelmed by all the work, it may end up being a waste. Having another parent to partner with to start the group can be a big help, however!
2. Meeting Area
Any functioning support group is going to need a reliable place to hold meetings and events. In the early stages of your group, a members’ house may suffice. However, if this will ideally become a successful support team, then a larger space will be needed. Check with your local churches, community centers, or other office buildings to see who may have space for rent.
3. Volunteer Help
When starting out, you’ll want to gather up a core group of parents who are willing to get the support group started from the ground floor. You’ll need their help in setting up various meetings and events, spreading the word to get more potential members, and any other tasks that you can’t handle on your own.
In order to maintain the various aspects of this support group amongst its members, a method of communicating with one another is necessary. Email usually works well for this, or even a listserv for when the group begins to grow larger in number. Many different email clients, like Yahoo, allow you to set up your own listserv for free in order to communicate with a group through email.
5. Spread the Word
While you may want to keep the support group personal and intimate, it’s still important to spread the word about your initiative. Remember, there’s most likely tons of parents who are faced with the same issues and problems as the ones in your group. After all, the goal of this is to help each other, so why not reach out to as many parents as possible?
Written by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz
Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.
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For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.
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