Parent Cafes connect many across Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Come in and sit down.

Expect a hot meal and a room full of listening ears.

Parent Cafes are held in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. They are free and welcome to all mothers, fathers, and caregivers.

On the day we visited, the Parent Cafe was held at Edmonds School in East Mount Airy.

"I tell them to come on out, and just try it. Just like Brussels sprouts, you can't say you don't like them, if you haven't even tried it," exclaimed Monique Gaillard from Tabor Children Services.

Parent Regina Jordan is attending her third Parent Cafe.

"I was hesitant at first because I don't like sharing a lot of things with people, but it was such a welcoming atmosphere," Jordan explained.

Jordan has a 7-year-old daughter.

"Well I came here because just like children have questions and issues, so do parents, and there are different things that we go through that maybe we can discuss with other parents to find out their solutions," Jordan told 6abc.

Philadelphia Department of Human Services funds Community Umbrella Agencies to host Parent Cafes in ten different neighborhoods.

"Sometimes in life you feel like you know- 'my teenager is losing her mind'. And then you talk to another parent and their teenager is losing their mind too, so you realize you're not alone, you are not going through this journey alone," according to Efia King from Tabor Community Partners.

Parents can expect free food, free childcare, and free SEPTA passes.

"Any obstruction that people might have from getting here, any roadblocks- we want to make sure we remove those," reassured Dan Mills, who led the meeting with King.

Whatever the topic of the day, the underlying theme is constant.

This is a place where parents and other caregivers can consider different parenting strategies and find support.

"It's just parents sharing real issues with one another. If you want to cuss, if you want to fuss, go ahead and do that. If you need resources, we're here to provide them for you," Gaillard said.

Jordan added, "Noone has a handbook on how to be a perfect parent even though we wish we did. So when you talk to other people that have been in situations regarding what you've been into, it makes you feel a lot easier on your journey."

For a calendar of upcoming Parent Cafes, click on this link.
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