Recently, the UT/TSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences staff and the Wilson County Schools YouthLinks staff partnered with various community agencies to host a baby shower for eight at risk and young parents that have completed a series of six educational sessions on parenting.
The program, “Drop in the Bucket,” focused on teaching parents essential life and parenting skills over the course of a six week period. Part of the Wilson County Parents as Teachers, the Bucket program enabled parents to learn about a variety of subjects including: What makes a Good Parent; Community Resources; Conflict Management; Shaken Baby Syndrome; Meal Planning; Stretching Food Dollars; Ages & Stages of Child Development; Communication; Post-Partum Depression; Housing Options; and Making Healthy Choices for our Families.
The idea of the “bucket” was to give the young parents a “drop” or skill during each session. Home Depot provided buckets for each participant to remind them that there are many essential life skills and to never stop putting skills in your bucket.
An interesting component of this parent group was the edition of “life coaches.” The life coaches were approached by UT/TSU Extension and YouthLinks and asked to attend meetings and be available for the young parents. The life coaches are still serving as a positive role model, support and lifeline to these young parents. Special thanks to the life coaches that dedicated their time, energy and hearts to the young parents and their families.
As a final celebration and completion of the program, the participants and their families were invited to attend a baby shower hosted by the Wilson County Community Help Center as an after-hours event. Ben Spicer, Executive Director, was on hand to explain the role of the Wilson County Community Help Center to the participants. Spicer also explained that his staff worked very hard making sure that plenty of infant and young child items were available as the participants would be able to meet with Help Center staff to determine eligibility to receive services during the shower.
Each participant was able to choose three items from the infant/young child area to help them with their families. Food for the baby shower was sponsored by the Carroll Family and Community Education (fce) Club and cake was provided by Amerigroup. Lastly, Modern Woodmen of America sponsored the gift giving.
Several weeks before, each participant shared their top three most needed items. And with the amazing sponsorship of Modern Woodmen of America, Veronica Mallicoat and Kim Lacy, those wish lists were filled.
“We would like to thank our many sponsors for believing in this project and we look forward to offering this program again for at risk young parents,” said Shelly Barnes with UT Extension.
The Wilson County YouthLinks Program, which began in August 2001, is currently serving 224 youths, ages 14-21. The goals of YouthLinks are to provide eligible youth with educational opportunities needed to receive a secondary school diploma or GED, to strengthen the educational goals of our school system by providing occupational assistance, to promote academic achievement and leadership development, and to prepare youth on all levels for the work force. The YouthLinks staff provides an array of services and program activities – tutoring, adult mentoring, occupational training, etc. For more information please call YouthLinks at 453-3833.
Wilson County Parents as Teachers is a free, educational program designed to provide information, fun activities, support, and encouragement to parents of children...birth to five years old living in Wilson County. This is done through parent group meetings and personal visits focusing on children. For more information on Wilson County Parents as Teachers or other family and consumer sciences related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-444-9584.