From Sammie Goodson, PLUS 1 Coordinator

Wait a minute…what’s happened to our Young Parents Program?

The Community Partnership’s Young Parents Program is changing its name!

For years, the Community Partnership has been providing services to young parents through the Missouri Mentoring Partnership program, and though those services will continue, we figured that it was good for us to change with the times, alter our programming, and make the group more strength and support based….and with that comes a new name – PLUS 1 – Parents: Learning, Uniting, and Succeeding.

The PLUS 1 program is designed to focus on the parent’s interaction with their child, building strong relationships and parenting skills, reaching their goals, and connecting with others that are in similar circumstances. Members of the PLUS 1 group will receive numerous services including: earning incentives for participation such as “Plus 1 Bucks” to put towards diapers, wipes, clothes, and equipment; One-on-One sessions that allow the PLUS 1 coordinator to work with each youth on their specific parenting questions and needs; Group Nights that serve as both life skills-building sessions, as well as support group meetings; Parenting classes that target specific age groups to teach them about developmental milestones, current behaviors, and needs of their children (prenatal, infant, toddler); Goal setting and obtainment assistance, in which the participant sets life goals for themselves as it relates to education, employment, or housing and earn incentives for completion; and Activity Days/Field trips, where youth in the program get to enjoy outings in the community where they can have fun with their child, connect with other parents, and have experiences that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy. These events have included trips to Pine Rock farms, Pete’s Pumpkin patch, and Splashzone.

As you can see many of the services offered aren’t changing – just improving. Our goal is to have more youth join the program and have our current participants get even more out of it! The hope is that the stigma of “being a young parent” is removed and the idea becomes, we are all parents – how can we build off of and learn from each other. We want to meet these parents where they are to get them where they need to be.