What is Parenting Village?
Parenting Village fosters the health and wellbeing of children and families in the Rochester area by offering support and connection for all families. We offer professionally facilitated drop-in support groups for caregivers (Circles); a home-based peer support program for families with new babies (Nurture); and connection and collaboration events. These include an annual festival connecting families to local resources and ongoing community events.
Parenting Village began as a non-profit organization founded in 2013. In 2018, we became a proud program of Jewish Family Service of Rochester, a non-profit organization that strengthens individuals, families and communities. Parenting Village has an Advisory Board and continues to raise funds independently.
There is already a lot happening here in Rochester. How do you work with existing resources, other programs, etc?
One of our main core values is to work collaboratively with other organizations, and we don’t want to duplicate services. While it is true that there is already a lot happening here for expecting, new and experienced parents, we want to create a more connected experience for families. We want to be a resource that, when someone becomes pregnant, or just has a child, or finds themselves in a new phase of their parenting experience, they know that they have a place to go for support, for information, for connection, and to know that they are not alone.
Why do you need to exist?
It really does take a village to raise a child. More than ever people are feeling isolated in our society. Extended families are spread out geographically. Sometimes people find that when they have children they don’t feel as supported by their families as they had hoped to be. People often don’t have strong geographical connections in their neighborhoods. Even those people who cite feeling a great deal of support would agree that more support is always welcome during the incredible transition into parenthood. Those of us working on this project have seen and felt, both personally and professionally, the need for this “village” here in Rochester.
Is Parenting Village right for me? Is it only for people who are stressed, in crisis, or having difficulty with their parenting experience?
If you are a parent or soon-to-be parent who wants to be in the company of other families, if you want to be supported as a parent and offer support to other parents, if you want a place where you can truly share in the joys and challenges with others, if you want to learn and grow with others in community, then you belong here. You might be stressed and experiencing difficulty, but you also just might be looking for more meaningful connections for you and your family. If you are experiencing a crisis that extends beyond the services Parenting Village is able to offer support with, we will have connections to other resources in the community that may help you.
Do I have to parent a “certain way” to be accepted?
No. We are open to all parenting styles that focus on raising healthy and empowered children and families, and we respect and understand that there are many different ways to do this. We are here as a place for all parents to find support, make friends, ask questions and enjoy the experience of raising a family as part of a close-knit community. We create programming that is inclusive of various parenthood experiences, joyful and challenging as they may be! Respect is at the heart of our values and our program design, and we invite all Parenting Village members to actively practice mutual respect alongside us.
What do you mean by “parent”?
To us, “parents” are the primary caregivers of children. This includes ALL family structures and varieties, and we celebrate the diversity of our local families. Programs will be inclusive in nature, and will offer a wide array of support for single parents, straight and same-sex couples, adoptive parents, foster parents, blended and stepfamilies and extended families. Since many “parent” programs tend to be developed with mothers in mind, we will also take into account programming that is designed to serve and support fathers.
Do you have a physical location where all of your programs take place?
While our offices are housed at Jewish Family Service of Rochester, our services take place out in the community. Our Circles are held in donated spaces throughout the area. Our Nurture Program is a home-based volunteer service, and our social events happen at various locations as well.
View our Programs to learn more about what we do, and how you can participate.