Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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January 10, 2014

Parenting ministry spreads to community

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Many a ministry thrives on being able to provide some form of physical of support, be it monetary or food.

However, others find a way to improve the lives of those reached out to through quality lessons, one Pauls Valley example coming up for a second offering through a parenting class at First Christian Church.

Called “The Incredible Years” Parenting Series, it is led again by administrators Autumn Cooper and Shari Freeland after finding a lot of success over this past summer with more stress free interaction with their children.

“It’s so needed, there’s so many young families because of maybe broken homes when they were young that they just didn’t get the full benefit of being taught on how families function,” said Nikki Assad, member of the church who helped organize the first class and has helped encourage participation for community volunteers again. “It really sparked an interest.”

The class has roots through what was originally a ladies group at First Christian Church, which happened to host Cooper and Freeland on separate occasions as speakers due to their experience in helping families through the Carter County Health Department.

Though they work out of Ardmore most of the time, they both call Pauls Valley home and were asked what they could do to help several parents at the church who had more questions than could be answered in a single visit.

“We want to offer it again,” said Assad, adding how she was approached after with touching stories of how life changing it was. “Offer it to the community.”

It was then that the class was created for a once a week, 20 week program, and something that was so well received that the idea was agreed upon to expand it beyond that, according to Assad.

It will be reduced to 16 weeks this time around beginning Jan. 27 and what Cooper and Freeman believe what makes it work so well is reinforcing habits many people realize they aren’t using regularly.

“I think what surprised us both so much was the things we take for granted as common knowledge is not common knowledge,” said Freeland, who received permission from the Garvin County department in this area to offer the class once more.

“Things we take for granted when we’re interacting with our children.”

The premise to help encourage parents to get started with the program is to remove any barriers that would discourage them from attending, including offering a meal and childcare for the parents, according to Freeland.

It happens in the evening after most people get off work and will once again start with a meal at 5:30 p.m. each evening and will then run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Everything in the class is experience based with role playing scenarios from playing with toys to discipline along with videos demonstrating how flawed any parents can be through a group process, noted cooper.

The children in the child care even gain while the parents are taking the class from how to behave at meal time to lessons from volunteers who are also trained.

“It’s more than a class where you come in and two people stand at the head of the class and teach it, it’s really based on the group dynamic,” said Cooper. “Learning from each other and going through it together.”

The cost of class $60 for an individual or $90 for a pair, which can be a couple or someone bringing a friend to share the class experience, said Cooper.

The lessons applied focus primarily on parenting children who are from 3 to 8 years old with about 14 total slots open this time around.

“It’s just as important to change parent’s behavior and not just the child’s.’” said Cooper. “After week 10 they were like ‘This is almost over?”

The church is located at 300 N. Ash. For more information or to sign up, call 405-238-6332 or call Freeland or Cooper at 580-223-9705.

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