Providing education and a supportive network for parents

Since the Student Support Services Division’s establishment, the division aims to increase parental skills and awareness. Through the Parenting Programs, for instance.

“Our motto is ‘If every child must learn, then every parent, family, and the community must be a part of the process’”, share Sophia Badejo-Auguiste (photo left) and Sherritza Peterson (photo right), both social workers at Student Support Services Division (SSSD).

One of the goals of the SSSD is to keep parents, families, and the community involved, enabled, and empowered. “We love what we do; it’s beautiful to know that your work is meaningful for your community,” explain Sophia and Sherritza, adding that they “are a great team.” As part of their work, they organise and facilitate quarterly Parent Support Group sessions and Parent Education Workshops.  

Empowering Parents

“It’s important to us to pick relevant topics in our community and through our workshops to keep parents ‘in the know’”, Sherritza says. “This way, they can feel better equipped to address issues if they arise in their family. Parent Education Workshops are open to the public, and parents, educators, care team members, and concerned citizens often attend the sessions.”

Since the SSSD’s establishment, the aim of the division has been to increase parental skills and awareness.

Through consultations and frequent contact with families, the SSSD identifes the most relevant topics to design the Parent Education Workshops. Some of the topics the division has covered in the past include bullying, substance abuse, sexting, conflict resolution, fighting in school, youth anxiety and depression, and family self-care.

Student Support Services Division

The SSSD supports students and their families so that they can reach their full potential. Diverse professionals provide this support through a wide range of services and programs. For more information, you can contact the SSSD at 1-721-54-31235, email [email protected], or visit their Facebookpage here

Providing a supportive network

Parents who need additional support can sign up and are encouraged to follow the Parent Support Group. These sessions provide a safe space for parents to share their experiences and learn from each other. The group is meant for parents whose children struggle with behaviour or learning challenges.

“What is great about these sessions is that you can see parents create a network with other parents who might be going through similar challenges”

“The Parent Support Group is kept small, and we all agree to keep what is shared confidential”, Sophia says. “What is great about these sessions is that you can see parents create a network with other parents who might be going through similar challenges. Once the network is strong enough, they can transition out of the group and continue to support one another.”

Provide Advice

Of course, Sophia and Sherritza are also there available to provide advice during the support group sessions. They use evidence-based practices as well as culturally sensitive practices. Sophia: “It’s not just parents who appreciate these meetings, but grandparents and other caregivers as well.”

Protecting children by supporting parents

Many of the parents that are referred to, or those who approach the SSSD for assistance, are facing challenges such as their children being defiant, not adhering to the rules, or being unmotivated to do schoolwork. Often there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Sherritza: “We also must not forget that parents may be facing challenges themselves. Our role is to help parents or caregivers gain the skills to parent safely and effectively.”

“Our role is to help parents or caregivers gain the skills to parent safely and effectively”

The Parent Support Group is an excellent setting for parents to receive alternative ideas on approaching their children and their behaviour. For example, many parents in the Parent Support Group express that harsh parenting practices, such as corporal punishment, have not worked. Parents attending the Parent Support Group for a longer time share best practices of how they achieved better communication with their children, Sophia says. “They conclude through discussion that positive reinforcement works better.”

“It is great when parents can reflect and learn from other parents to improve their relationship with their children and family”, Sherritza says. “As social workers we guide families, but we are not experts on everything parenting. We respect parents for their experience as well.”