Don’t go it alone! – Caregiver Empowerment Groups provide helpful support for the journey of parenting

By Kristen Drumgoole

Parenting: It’s the best, hardest job. It’s joy and laughter and fun…and heartache, worry, and weariness. Behavior challenges, financial strain, traumatic experiences, and many other things can be roadblocks to family bonding and growth.

MCH Family Outreach exists to offer support to families facing such challenges. We support families in a number of ways – through caregiver education, connecting families to community resources, and planning for achievement of goals set by family members. One of the unique ways MCH Family Outreach seeks to support families and caregivers is through Caregiver Empowerment Groups (CEGs). CEGs are regular meetings designed to offer support and empowerment to caregivers through education, discussion, and the opportunity to connect with and learn from others who are on a similar journey. These groups are always open to new members, so you are welcome to drop by any of them at any time.

Here is a quick overview of the Caregiver Empowerment Groups we currently offer:

Adoptive & foster parent CEG: This group offers monthly meetings to support adoptive and foster parents. The next meeting will be Friday, March 22, from 6:45-8:30 PM, at First Baptist Church, Woodway, 101 N. Ritchie Rd. Childcare is available with a prior RSVP. To RSVP or get more information, contact Marissa Smith at [email protected] or call 254-750-1263.

Grandparent & relative caregiver CEG: This group is open to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – anyone who has taken in a child of a family member or friend. Raising a relative’s child as your own comes with a unique set of joys and challenges, and this group exists to support caregivers through this journey. The next meeting will be Monday, March 25, from 10:00-11:00 AM at the MCH Family Outreach Center, 524 W. Waco Drive. Childcare is not provided. For more information, contact Kristen Drumgoole at [email protected] or call 254-750-1263.

Spanish language CEG: This group is open to all parents and caregivers who speak Spanish. The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 27, from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM at La Puerta Waco, 500 Clay Ave. (First Baptist Church, Waco, 2nd floor). Childcare is provided. For more information, contact Ana Chatham, at [email protected] or call 254-750-1263.

Family fun CEG: This group is open to all families who want to build attachment and bonding by having fun together! Parents and children will learn skills like healthy communication and appropriate rules and boundaries in the home, through play and family fun. The first meeting will be Saturday, April 13 at the MCH Family Outreach Center, 524 W. Waco Drive, from 10 AM-noon. Please RSVP to this group by emailing Maegan Bennight at [email protected] or calling 254-750-1263.

Wherever you are on your parenting journey, MCH Family Outreach exists to support you! Please call 254-750-1263 to find out more about our free services and determine how we can best serve you and your family.

Kristen Drumgoole has been a Case Manager with MCH Family Outreach for one year. She holds her MSW degree from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor, where she is also an adjunct instructor. Outside of work hours, you’ll likely find Kristen at her church (Calvary Baptist) or dancing up a sweat at the REFIT Studio. She has called Waco home for the past 6 years.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected]  for more information.

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