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Parent Centre reflects on 30 years

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Parent Centre in Wynberg reflects on 30 years
Constantiaberg Bulletin

“Countless lives have been saved or transformed through the love and dedication Parent Centre employees have shown the public over the years,” said Venecia Barries, the Director of the Parenting Centre.

Mrs Barries said that she was proud of the Parenting Centre’s legacy, and was over-joyed to be a part of the May 2012 celebration commemorating its 30 years of service to communities of Cape Town.

“A man who once participated in our parenting training workshops made a heartfelt confession,” recalls Mrs Barries.

“My sons were only seven, ten and 13 years old at the time I attended the workshop,” the man, who prefers to remain anonymous, said. “Shortly after completing the course I overheard one of my sons asking my wife what had happened to me because I wasn’t shouting at or kicking them anymore. She told him that I had realized that children were human beings too.”

Another case that has stuck with Mrs Barries is the story of a desperate woman. Pregnant at the time and overwhelmed by the thought that she was not going to be able to look after the child, this lady walked down to the train station and was waiting to throw herself in-front of the next train. Miraculously however she came to hear about a talk the Parent Centre was going to give about parenting. Filled with hope she attended the meeting where she received the love and encouragement she needed to carry on living and to give her child a chance at life.

The Parenting Centre runs several programs to help soon to be parents, parents, care givers and educators deal better with the complexities and rigours of giving birth, raising and educating children.

“A large part of our success has been that our focus from the beginning has been to equip people to be better parents, care givers or educators through providing them with information, support and parenting skills,” Mrs Barries said, adding that there tag line over the years has been - “Helping children through parents”

“In actual fact, many of our current employees are people who have first hand experience of the power of our interventions, myself included. I attended one of our courses when my daughter Gabby was just one years old and it transformed the way I parented through the years,” said Mrs Barries

The Parenting and Community Empowerment and Support(PACES) programme consists of a 7 week Positive Parenting Programme and an 11 week Parenting and Leadership Training course.

The Positive Parenting Programme aims to help parents become more positive about their parenting roles by equipping them to understand why their children behave like they do and how better to meet their child’s needs. The Parenting and Leadership Training course is designed to better equip professionals, parent leaders, community workers and leaders in parenting and leadership skills already working in the field.

The Parenting Centre also offers a Parent Infant Intervention Home Visiting Programme. “We hope to prevent child abuse, neglect and abandonment through this programme,” said Mrs Barries. “We go to the home of expecting moms five times during their pregnancy and then 15 times after the birth to make sure these women are as equipped as possible to give birth and then to be able to look after their new born baby.”

Another popular programme offered by the Parenting Centre is the Teen Parenting Programme. Teen biological parents and caregivers are given the support, love and skills training they need to be a good parent. “It is so sad,” said Mrs Barries, “ many of these parents are just children themselves and are often parents because of rape or because their parents have died of HIV AIDS.”

Looking forward, Mrs Barries, herself a trained social worker, is hoping to expand the reach of the Parenting Centre into as yet unreached communities. According to her, many people living in the suburbs of Cape Town do not know that help is available to them. “We have a team of professional psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, marriage counselors and more who are all wanting to help people in need,” Mrs Barry said.

To take advantage of the services offered by the Parenting Centre or if you would like to get involved, please e-mail them at: reception@theparentcentre.org.za or give them a call at 021 762 0016

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