Parenting Communities are places where everyone works together to ensure that the environment supports parents in raising healthy kids. Everyone can make a contribution, including businesses, schools, non-profits, friends, relatives, and neighbors. In parenting communities, parents keep their families strong by keeping themselves strong in mind, body and spirit and then by intentionally living the Strengthening Families TM protective factors in their families. Community members work together to create an environment that is healthy for children and families.
Parenting Communities are everywhere. Maggie Sprattmoran, who came up with the name Parenting Communities, started them in rural Michigan to “bring together parents who struggled to find people with whom they felt safe talking about parenting.” In Los Angeles, Magnolia Place Community Initiative is bringing everyone together around 35,000 children in a 5-square-mile area with a vision of breaking all records of success in education, health, quality of nurturing care, and economic stability.
As a parent, it’s easy to feel like you’re going it alone. But the reality is, we all have a stake in what happens to kids because we all have a stake in the future! So, creating communities that are good places to raise kids benefits not only parents and children, but all of us.
A day in the life of a Parenting Community might mean going to “free laundry day” at the laundromat, where early childhood home visitors are on hand to chat. It might mean going to a local grocery store that has a supervised play area. It might mean getting together with other parents to transform a dangerous space into a park or a garden.
Strong communities are built from the inside out. When parents take care of themselves and their children and when they’re intentional about parenting—their families are stronger. And when everyone’s doing it—the neighborhood is stronger. That’s what makes a Parenting Community.
In spring 2013, Be Strong Families began organizing Parenting Communities throughout Chicagoland as part of the Community Violence Prevention Program Parent Program. Today, more than 1,000 parent leaders are building the protective factors in their families and working together to transform their neighborhoods into strong, peaceful Parenting Communities.