Children enjoy some time with the Easter Bunny earlier this month at the Stettler Parent Link Centre, which provides local families with a range of useful and educational services.                                Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Children enjoy some time with the Easter Bunny earlier this month at the Stettler Parent Link Centre, which provides local families with a range of useful and educational services. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Stettler Parent Link works to strengthen families

Programs run the gamut from Super Dads, Super Kids to Bringing Baby Home

The Stettler Parent Link Centre offers a range of programs aimed squarely at strengthening all aspects of family life.

“We are also about early intervention, so we get parents to come here and interact with their children,” said Catherine Robinson. “We provide parent education, parent support, we do referrals. I also do ‘Ages and Stages’ questionnaires just to see where the children are at developmentally.”

Other opportunities to learn include the Positive Parenting Program, Bringing Baby Home and Super Dads, Super Kids.

“I’m a carseat teach as well, so I do carseat inspections, too.”

As if Robinson isn’t busy enough with all of these tremendous programs, she’s also currently studying to be a yoga calm instructor as well, she explained.

“It will incorporate yoga, mindfulness and social/emotional aspects, too, so it’s everything for youth especially with ADHD, trauma and autism,” she said.

Staff at Parent Link focus on children in the zero to five-year-old age category.

Another highlight of the organization is how it can bring parents in the area together, she said.

“They can make connections with the community,” she said, adding it’s particularly great for families new to town as it’s a terrific means of making new friends and connections.

According to the provincial web site, Parent Link Centres also help to, “Develop nurturing environments that support early childhood development, increase confidence in parenting skills, improve parents’ awareness of community and parenting resources, help parents cope with everyday stress, enhance connections with other parents and caregivers, strengthen a sense of belonging in the community and decrease the isolation new parents may sometimes feel.

“To do so, qualified staff deliver parenting programs, share information about child development, and help families deal with parenting and family issues. Since 2004, the network has grown from 22 locations, serving approximately 5,800 Albertans, to over 57 locations serving more than 107,000 Albertans a year.”

Since opening its first program in 1975, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association (which is the umbrella organization that Stettler Parent Link falls under) has grown and evolved into a dynamic not-for-profit social service agency that provides a comprehensive range of programs, notes the Facebook page.

“McMan is a well-respected organization and has earned a solid reputation as a responsive, highly competent and innovative partner in service delivery.”

Robinson said that Stettler Parent Link has been in town for about 10 years and it continues to grow and expand its mandate with outreach to local families.

Meanwhile, staff from Stettler Parent Link are also heading out to Erskine once a month.

“We go to the Evangelical Church on Main Street, and we do different programming including art and a play. Last week, we took the bouncy house and did some music – all sorts of different things,” she added. “Its the third Monday of every month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.”

Robinson said the feedback from families is encouraging. “It’s mainly about the connections that they get,” she said.

For herself, the work is especially meaningful and fulfilling.

“I love helping – especially moms. I have a passion for helping moms.

“And the children are so fun! So I get to have fun but still help. It’s different everyday.”

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