RIDGEFIELD PARK – The Bergen County Council for Young Children (“BCCYC”) held its first Parent Café at Ridgefield Park Public Library on October 27th, creating a community forum for parents to discuss the needs of children and families from prenatal stages through eight years of age.
The event was hosted and moderated by Jennifer Loaiza, the Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”) Project Coordinator for BCCYC, with the support of community partners including the Family Support Organization of Bergen County, the Bergen County Office for Children, and Bergen County Headstart.
“I cannot thank our community partners enough,” expressed Loaiza, “Without their help and support, this morning’s first BCCYC Parent Café, and the Kick Off Event held in September, would not have been a success! It is our collective efforts that best serve the community.”
There were numerous families that attended the morning Parent Café, during which the children that accompanied their parents played games, and worked on puzzles and coloring books. The parents were invited into a separate space to address their concerns and explore the needs in the local community.
Some of the topics that were explored during the Parent Café included health, education, and the many dimensions of their children’s overall well-being. The parent group also participated in team building activities to create a stronger sense of connection with each other.
The goal of the program is not only to connect families with local resources, but also to establish a supportive group of parent advocates who will act as active community partners. By creating a sense of comradery amongst the BCCYC, the vision is that Bergen County will become stronger and more successful through the input of parents, caregivers, guardians, and other community members.
“It was so gratifying to see the families and community partners sit together to learn about available resources in Bergen County,” Loaiza continued. “I think the biggest take away was knowing that the parents were satisfied, and surprised, by the abundance of what is offered in our county.”
The event organizers reported that the success of the event was a good indication of developments to come as the BCCYC continues to expand their reach into local communities.
The next Parent Café will be held with a festive fall theme on November 12th from 6pm–7:30pm at the Little Learners Child Development Center in Hackensack. It is a family event where children are welcome to attend, and childcare and dinner will be provided.
It has been requested that all interested families RSVP by November 10th to Jennifer Loaiza, Project Coordinator, by phone at 201-265-8200 ext. 5286, or by email at JenniferLo@CarePlusNJ.org. If there are any families that would like to inquire how to bring a future Parent Café and resources to their local community, they may also contact Loaiza.