With COVID-19 and nationwide struggles with mental health, Tammi Fabris, a mother of two, is looking forward to the Parent Project sessions held by the Yuba County Office of Education.
“Every parent, especially children and adolescents, they’re going through so many changes in their brain, and the times are different than maybe what we grew up with and so I think these classes are helpful for any parent,” said Fabris.
Fabris attended the first session of Parent Project in 2021. Working with other parents and the people directing the courses, Fabris has learned to better communicate with her children. Fabris remembers using the course workbook and working in teams with other parents as they read and went through the workbook together.
“The book is really easy to work with and then you can refer back to it at home,” said Fabris.
Through its Prevention Support and Services department, YCOE will be offering in-person and online Parent Project programs to any parent whose child is in the age range from 11-18.
The goal of Parent Project classes is to provide support and tools for parents to mitigate some of the more challenging behavior that teens can display.
“One of the great things about Parent Project is that it does focus on more of the challenging, destructive adolescent behaviors,” said Theresa Hioki, student support mental health counselor at YCOE. “Parent Project addresses truancy, drug and alcohol use, runaways, sex, violence and gangs.”
Parent Project is held with partnerships from Yuba County Health and Human Services, Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health and Yuba County Probation. Through its partnership with Yuba County Probation, YCOE is also able to offer these parent support classes in Spanish.
“Luckily, this year, we’re able to offer classes in-person and online,” said Hioki. “Like with any other meetings, when we were doing our Parent Project online, connectivity problems were an issue, not having that intimate connection as you would face-to-face were some of the challenges. We’re hoping to move past these challenges and start having more in-person Parent Project sessions, but we also are offering the online one just because Yuba County and Sutter County is so vast, the access is a little bit easier for those that live in rural areas.”
Parent Project began in 2014. According to Amy Molina-Jones, coordinator of Prevention Support and Services, the program has had participation from hundreds of parents since 2014. The program is not limited to parents in Yuba County and has also had participation from parents in Sutter County and Sacramento. The courses are limited to the first 20 participants but during the COVID-19 pandemic, YCOE has had three to five parent participants, said Molina-Jones.
“One of the very first lessons that a parent is reminded of, is to tell their child that they love them,” said Molina-Jones. “When parents have been struggling with their kids, it’s a huge deal for them to be able to kind of clean the slate and start at ground zero and show love and empathy.”
The course includes the cost of a $30 workbook. The workbook goes along with the curriculum step by step. Buying the workbook secures the spot of a parent in the session and helps them commit to taking the course, said Molina-Jones. If needed, YCOE will also take payment on the purchase of the workbook.
“Many times we’ve been asked or have been given a donation to cover that expense,” said Molina-Jones. “But the developers of the program really want the parents to have it.”
According to Hioki, the sessions also teach parents about self-care, maintaining a calmness and control of their mental health to better their relationships with their children. Unlike other traditional parenting classes, Parent Project dives into subjects such as gang violence, substance abuse, teen drinking, sex and others. Parent Project also discusses what an adolescent could potentially be experiencing or exposed to through their lens of the world, whether through social media or school.
“Parent Project focuses on more challenging behaviors,” said Hioki. “A lot of parents feel like they’re alone when they’re having such severe problems with their kids and having such a difficult time, or when some parenting strategies work for one child, but not another one, they could have feelings of failure or feel like they’re alone. But when they’re in this group format and they’re with one another, where they’re not alone and other parents are experiencing similar situations, I think it’s really empowering that they’re there to support each other and understand where each other are coming from.”
In-person classes for Parent Project will be held at McKenney Intermediate School, located at 1904 Huston St. in Marysville. The session will begin on Jan. 11 and run through March 22 and be held weekly on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
Virtual sessions for Parent Project will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays starting the week of Jan. 23 through April 6. They will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
In order to register or find out more information, visit tinyurl.com/2p8j9f7m. Parents can also call Hioki to register or know more about the program at 530-749-4973.