Our larger vision is “World peace by way of the family.”
We provide enrichment and education resources for anyone who has, works with, or loves children. In addition, we will maintain a comprehensive resource on our webpage to connect parents and caregivers with organizations that help build healthy families through fun, specialized support services, and encouragement for families to engage in the community.
Downsized to a shared space with another
business where we have a small room for workshops, classes and individual
Added more qualified and hard-working Board
Served the community by offering workshops,
courses and support groups
Our top goals for the current year are:
Continue to seek sources of funding
Start a Baby/Parent class for newborns to age 1
Expand Workshops, Classes and Programs
Recruit and train exceptional parenting
Be a quality parent education resource for local
Our most pressing needs are in the areas of board development, and in financing the “Learn and Play Program” and other Parent Enrichment programs. We would like to train 2-3 more parent educators, and search for 2-3 more early childhood specialists so that we can run programs at different times of day, on weekends, and throughout the year. They would be hired as independent contractors and paid an hourly rate for their services. Volunteers to help in the L&P program would be welcome. The contribution of people with expertise in website design, fund-raising, and those with an accounting or legal background would be valued and appreciated.
What distinguishes The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. is the unique focus on enrichment for everyone. No matter who you are or what you know, you will be enriched by the things you learn in workshops and classes, by engaging with others, and by feeling the support of a community. We also encourage participants to invest in other parents by “Paying It Forward” in order to continually enlarge the circles of strength. Peace begins with compassionate understanding of ourselves first and then of our children. When we learn tools for connection and gentle correction we are helping children grow to be responsible, capable, empathic, and contributing members of human society. We also help parents and caregivers discover or re-discover that their work can be fun and rewarding, too. We want to collaborate with all the great resources available to parents and families in the Lexington area.
Since we are a brand-new organization, I would say that our biggest success so far is assembling a talented and enthusiastic Board, who are looking forward to creating a one-of-a-kind resource for parents, other caregivers, and families. Our main challenge is the scope of the work ahead of us, but we are confident that we can work together and move forward, step by step. I have a great passion for parents, and a heart of compassion for their frustrations, disappointments, and struggles. Ultimately, it is the children who benefit. When parents invest themselves in learning more about normal child development (helps keep expectations realistic), and the importance of listening and supporting without fixing (allows children to feel heard and understood, and to begin to solve their own problems), everyone wins, families are closer, and communities are strengthened. I chose to volunteer with this organization because I believe strongly in the goodness of people, and in their ability to unite and accomplish great things. As a family physician, I recognize also that preventive care is more desirable than taking care of the complications that arise from not having a pro-active stance. This is why I believe so strongly in this organization’s vision and goals.
Our ultimate goal is to work for peace, through caring adults who recognize themselves as the first agent of change in their families. No matter what a family or individual’s history is, the opportunity to create a new future is theirs.
Our first goal is to reach out to parents and caregivers. Through insightful and sometimes entertaining classes, workshops, and groups in both English and Spanish, the door is opened for them to see children and experience them in a different way. This new way is empowering and rewarding. Tools for positive discipline, clear communication, making agreements, handling feelings, designing effective consequences, win-win negotiating, and even designing a family mission statement are available for the enrichment of all families. The focus is on humans in general rather than on a particular socioeconomic or ethnic group. Raising children is a difficult job in the best of circumstances, and in today’s world the challenges are greater than ever. Unlike most animals who raise their young by instinct for a relatively short period of time, we usually rely on our own experiences and flying by the seat of our pants over a long period of time…18 years or more! Our intention is to impact children through enriching parent’s knowledge and way of being. We expect that parents will be more confident, more creative and happier. Their children will feel secure, unconditionally loved, and will be more cooperative. There is no defined endpoint…the work will be ongoing, and gradually become wider and wider in scope as more communities begin similar programs modeled after The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc.
Our second goal is to create a place where individuals seeking enrichment for their families can go to find out what is available. This would be done in part by building bridges with organizations, programs and resources in the Lexington area. Our web page will include links to help parents locate specialized and general resources. Examples of these might include the Fayette Fatherhood Initiative, The Nest, Lamplighters of America, Fun4Kids, and the Lexington Public Library. A list of community counselors, parent coaches and others would make searching simple. In the future, we envision a freestanding building with classrooms for the Learn and Play Programs, a Reading Library for parent education, space for parent coaching, and room to invite a variety of family enrichment programs, such as Financial Peace University.
Our strategies for making these plans a reality involve first of all assembling a collection of passionate, committed adults who will work towards accomplishing our mission. Effective fund-raising will be an essential element of success, and we will look for support through varied means, including fee-for-service, a ‘Pay It Forward” model, donations, and grants. To survive, the income must be sustainable, and will require investment from the community.
Utilizing existing low-cost or free resources will be another way to extend our message, and to invite engagement. Our Board President already has a monthly Positive Parenting column in the Lexington Family Magazine, and a weekly podcast for WMJR Real Life Radio. Other board members appeared on a local noon TV show. Our Pay It Forward Parent Support Group continues to grow, and our "Learn and Play" program, funded by BGCF is underway.
As we expand, we will seek resources and funding to train more parent instructors and early childhood professionals, and offer more workshops and classes, both at our location and at other locations in the area (churches, schools, community centers, pediatric and obstetric offices, etc.) These will benefit parents and caregivers across the Bluegrass who are looking for positive, helpful tools to enrich their family lives. Stronger families mean more children who are learning through experience to be leaders of peace and cooperation in the future.
Since we are a young organization, we are still in our early building stages. Our existing resources include three parent educators, one of whom is fluent in Spanish, and a Speech Language Pathologist, along with several volunteers.
Our board includes the administrator of the local Shriners Hospital, an engineer, and the Associate Director for Federal, State, Magnet and Special Academic Programs at Fayette County Public Schools. A number of local professionals have offered their services as resources in our support, including a counselor and an accountant. Several of the board members have direct experience with parenting workshops and classes, which have impacted their lives significantly in a positive way.
At this point we are building our financial assets. We received a grant from the Blue Grass Community Foundation for the Learn and Play Program, and are halfway through the program. We also offer a Pay It Forward Parent Support Group which is self-sustaining, and a series of fee-for-service workshops and classes, and individual parent coaching. The facilitators for both programs are invested in benefiting families, and have offered their services without charge. As we grow, it will be appropriate to pay for more of these services.
We are actively seeking collaborative partners, and are working to create bridges between the many wonderful existing resources in the Lexington area.
The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. will maintain records of all of its offerings, and will include evaluations with the key programs. These evaluations will be monitored over time, and feedback will be used to continually improve and refine the programs.
We have brought up the possibility of engaging the University of Kentucky in researching the various programs. If this is feasible, it could possibly be of benefit to both of us. Deciding what to measure and identifying key milestones will be one focus of discussion with an individual who has a background in studying education and training, and looking at outcomes.
We imagine some of the outcomes measured could include decreased yelling, decreased (or no) hitting or spanking, more conversation, more cooperation, better grades, fewer melt-downs, more confidence, more satisfaction, better self-care, etc. Much more research and engagement of resources will be necessary before this question can be answered fully.
So far we have accomplished our designation as a non-profit organization, with IRS 501(c)(3) status. With only an executive committee of three individuals, we offered an ongoing monthly Pay It Forward Parent Support Group and a pilot “Learn and Play” program. We have assembled a board of professionals to guide and inform us, and with whom we hope to become a united team, working for the enrichment of families.
Reaching these near-term objectives has us poised to move forward and begin to build the financial resources necessary to fund programs, train instructors, procure necessary materials, employ needed support personnel, and save for the future, when we can move into our own Center.
One challenge we face is engaging participation from parents from all walks of life. We need to find a way to overcome the “stigma” of “needing” parenting classes, and to transform the perception into one of “something parents love to do” rather than “something parents have to do.” We are continuously inviting people to participate in our programs, and encouraging them to share their positive experiences through word-of-mouth and with feedback on the evaluations. We will include these comments on our webpage and brochures in order to help change the perception from a negative to a positive one.
The families in our society are at great risk of breaking down for various reasons, including financial stress, marital strain, disconnection, lack of understanding, use of electronics, and others. The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. will offer tools to build and maintain happier, well-functioning families, serving as “preventive medicine” for creating healthy family relationships.
We have some very good opportunities to become more
visible and connect with more parents and families, thanks to the success of
our “Learn and Play” program and the continuation of parenting workshops,
classes and support groups. Our Board provides ideas and time to help us with programs
and promotion and keeps our momentum going. The main challenge we face is
generating the financial resources to maintain the general operations and fund
some of the programs. We are addressing this by applying for grants, seeking
donations, and fee-for-services offered.
Lesley Iwinski, MD retired from practicing Family Medicine in 1998. In addition to a leadership role as Chief Resident in Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, while on the faculty she was the chair of the Residency Admissions Program, and designed the Family Medicine Internship Orientation Month. Throughout her tenure in Augusta, Georgia, she was involved in medical student and resident education, patient care, and committee work. She was involved as the Physician Support for a Kellogg Grant administered through the School of Nursing, that involved a Outreach Mobile Health Office for several years. She later worked in private practice and served as the Medical Director of Employee Health at St. Joseph Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. Lesley was the Assistant to the Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Hospice in Augusta, Georgia, and compiled a manual for symptom management for the hospice staff.
In the community, she was president of the Tuxedo Park Neighborhood Watch in Augusta. Since moving to Lexington, Kentucky in 1998 she has been involved in leadership roles in her church, chairing several committees and serving on the Executive Committee of the Parish Pastoral Council for three years. She started her own business, Growing Peaceful Families, in 2007. For the past 7 years, she has done the marketing, newsletters, financial management, and teaching, and has had the opportunity to work with other educators, parents and teachers. Currently, she collaborates with two other parent educators at Growing Peaceful Families and is involved in creating The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. She writes a monthly column for Lexington Family Magazine about Positive Parenting, and also does a weekly podcast for WMJR Radio in a regular parenting segment.
Lesley has been married almost 30 years and she and her husband have three children ages 18-23.
This is a combination early-learning and literacy, and parent enrichment and education program. In its current design, a caregiver and child age 2-3 years old are enrolled for an 8-week series of meetings. Each meeting is 2 hours long, and is divided into a common play, music and reading time (~60 minutes), and separate child enrichment and parent/caregiver support and education (~60 minutes). The curricula for the children and adult programs were compiled by the administrators of the program. The format for the parent/caregiver portion is introductions, sharing of joys and concerns, and discussion of a topic of interest led by a parent educator. Families take turns bringing healthy snacks. This is offered in English and in Spanish.
The near term improvements that will result from Learn and Play for the parents will be improved confidence, a wider array of positive discipline tools to draw from, a community of parents to share ideas, and a closer connection with their children. They will also understand the importance of reading and literacy for their children. The children will benefit from learning fine motor skills, language, and they will benefit from their parents understanding their needs better and being better able to guide them using positive discipline tools. We expect that 85-90% of parents will report their parenting skills improved as a result of participation int his program (source: ECFE 2013-Evaluation measuring impact of participation in ECFE on parenting and child development.)
The ultimate changes that will result from this program include are expected to be similar to the results of Early Childhood Family Education programs in other locations. Parents will report improvements in their child’s behavior, ability to adjust to social situations, cooperation, confidence and school readiness. Parents themselves will find they are more confident, connected with their children, and more relaxed because of the parent enrichment and education provided. The results can be tracked through us of the end-of-program evaluations, and through continuing to study our population and the impact of parent support and family literacy programs over time.
We offered a small 4-week pilot program in March 2014. Our evaluation pre and post-program of the parents and caregivers showed a 23-45% increase in knowledge on the topics taught, and they were highly satisfied. We expect similar or higher numbers with the longer program, and for the same results as we add older age groups.
This monthly gathering is for parents of children ages 2-10 years. The format is simple and includes introductions, time to share joys and concerns, and discussion of a topic of interest each month. The meetings last 2 hours. Initially, topics are chosen by the group for the following meeting. Water and simple snacks are provided. There is no formal charge, but at the close of each meeting, parents/caregivers are invited to sponsor the next group of parents by contributing toward the cost.
The short term successes will be similar to the long-term successes: more confidence, satisfaction with using positive discipline tools, more cooperation, better relationships, and more peace in their homes. The immediate effects of being involved in the Pay It Forward Parent Support Group include feeling encouraged and excited about trying new tools, and experiencing parenting in a more positive way. Because they are engaged in choosing the following month’s topic, and because the continuation of the program depends on their support, parents feel a sense of ownership and pride in what they are learning, and want to share the experience with others.
As a result of the Pay It Forward Parent Support Group, we expect to see improvement in parents’ levels of confidence, their comfort with setting limits, satisfaction with using positive discipline tools, more cooperation from their children, more peace in their homes, and the sense of being connected to a large and supportive community. It is also expected that the more parents learn, the more they will be inspired to learn through reading, attending workshops and parenting classes. In addition, we predict children of parents in this program would have better grades, less delinquency, and higher self-esteem.
We have a website and webmaster. This year, we will include an easy-to-navigate web resource for parents and families of all descriptions to help them to be connected with and supported by the Lexington community. Through collaborating with local organizations and with their permission, we want to be able to connect any parent to what will meet their needs and interests. Some examples of categories to be included are: Single fathers, Single mothers, Teen mothers, All For Fun, Support Groups (MOMs, church and community groups for parents) and Library programs, among others. More discussion is needed on which resources to include, and how to organize the page(s).
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507