A group of 15 families recently graduated from our Nurturing Parenting workshop series* in San Cristobal. This was the first time we offered the series in an area community instead of at our Antigua site, where it has been held since 2006. Erin Treinen, Grants & Communications Coordinator, went to the last workshop and graduation ceremony to snap some pictures, and she was very touched by what she observed.
The workshop topic for the last day focused on loneliness, since the participants were completing this 9-week series, which serves in part as a support group and social gathering. Erin spent time with the small children’s group, where the facilitators used puppets to talk about the subject— what to do when you’re feeling lonely. Then, the children did an art project—they dipped marbles in paint and worked with a partner to roll the marbles on a piece of paper without dropping them, creating a colorful kind of painting. Finally, the children and parents participated in their respective graduation ceremonies. The children received a certificate of completion, a medallion, and a small gift such as a jump rope, wooden truck, or stuffed animal.
One of the most emotional activities came at the very end of the session. The children and parents attend workshops separately, but they came together at the end for a group activity. As in weeks prior, the parents role played tucking their children in for the night in a loving way. Each child had a blanket and laid down, and their parent sat with them and touched them lovingly. Erin says that many parents didn’t know how to give loving touch at the beginning of the workshops, but that day, they all shared a very tender moment with their children.
*The Nurturing Parenting workshop series uses a curriculum intended to reduce family violence and raise self-esteem by offering families strategies that create a positive environment for growth and development in the home. Ultimately, this initiative’s goal is to strengthen the parent-child relationship, improve self-esteem, create accountability, and provide safe surroundings so that children can thrive in the home and in school.
More photos from the last workshop below: