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January 10, 2012

Parent Education Program Opens January 2012

The Mother-Baby program of Sacramento Food Bank & Family (SFBFS) had been around for almost twenty years and was initially created to service single mothers. A lot has changed since that time. We now know that there are other groups of caregivers that need support as well. For example, we are seeing more and more single fathers and grandparents or other family members as the primary provided for the child.

We also recognize a need for intensified parent education, mentoring and other support services. In 2010 SFBFS partnered with Betty Moore School of Nursing to conduct a series of client focus groups and surveys that stretched over a year. The results reinforced what we had already suspected.

Our first challenge was the name Mother-Baby. First, the name implies that the program is for women with babies only and excludes fathers, grandparents and other caregivers. Secondly, it does not mention classes or the program’s purpose of improving lives through education. Another challenge we faced was the perception the community had about the program. Mother-Baby was viewed as a distribution program that gave out free baby supplies with no consideration of the educational requirement.

After reviewing the results from the surveys and focus groups we knew we had to make some serious changes. In mid-2011, program managers drafted a proposal that included changes that reflected client and data feedback. After several revisions the proposal was approved and planning for a new Parent Education program began.

Effective January 17, 2012, SFBFS will launch its new Parent Education program designed to service families in the Sacramento County. Parent Education offers free, family-related courses on topics such as nurturing parenting, positive discipline techniques, budgeting, health, nutrition, stress management, school readiness and more. Families with children 0 – 5 years old will receive credits after the completion of each course that can be traded in for infant and toddler supplies.

Comparison Chart

Parent Education ____________________ Mother-Baby

* Assists families w/ children 0–5 years _____ * Assists families w/ children 0–24 mos

* Open to all Sacramento county families ___ *
Zip code specific

* Inclusive name _______________________ * Name excludes fathers, grandparents

* Offers family-related courses, 4 – 12 weeks_ * Offers one day workshops

* Baby supplies must be earned ___________ * Baby supplies are given away

* Education focused_____________________ * Distribution focused

* Offers a hand up______________________ * Offers a hand out

Ways to get involved:

- Become a client or refer a family by calling the Parent Education hotline for up-coming orientation dates by calling (916) 313-7622.

- Volunteer your time and talents. Volunteers can assist with the day to day functions of the program, work one on one with clients as a mentor or present a special class on topics such as health, nutrition, arts, stress management, yoga and other specialty skills. To become a volunteer please register of an upcoming volunteer orientation at

- Donate new and gentle used baby supplies at one of our two facilities.

o Oak Park: 3333 3rd Avenue in Oak Park

o North Sacramento: 2469 Rio Linda Blvd in North Sacramento

Monetary donations are also welcome.

If you would like more information new Parent Education program please visit our Web site at or contact us directly by email us at for the Main Campus located in Oak Park or for the Saca Community Learning Center located in North Sacramento.

Written by Mireya Estrella, Parent Education Program Manager

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