The Poe Center was a guest blogger for Advocates for Health in Action. Check out our blog post about our new adult program Parents Matter!

Parents Matter!

Not only has the Poe Center been educating North Carolina children and youth since 1991, but also provides adult programming. Graduation ceremonies for the Poe Center’s first group of Parents Matter! program participants were held last week. Parents Matter! is a five-week, CDC evidence-based program for parents of children in the 4th and 5th grades. The goals of the program for parent participants are to:

  • Learn how to become better health teachers for their children;
  • Learn how to help their children cope with sexual messages that may not be good for them;
  • Build knowledge and skills so they can communicate their values about sex to their children more effectively;
  • Provide information that they can share with others in their family.

Through interactive activities, discussion and role-play, parents were able to learn and practice the skills necessary to become their child’s most valuable health/sex educator. Because the family’s values are an important part of the sexual health message for children, it is of major benefit that the messages children hear come from their home environment. Many parents feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their children because they may feel they don’t have the facts or they aren’t sure how to get started. Through the weekly lessons and practice provided by the Poe Center’s trained facilitators, parents were able to then start these difficult conversations with their children.

Comments from two participants summed up the experience:  “I enjoyed being able to interact with other parents who were going through the same challenges I was,” and “I enjoyed the setting. It was very relaxed and yet informative. You were able to ask questions, make comments and laugh.”

This first Parents Matter! program was provided with support from NC Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina School Health Training Center at Appalachian State University. The Poe Center was able to provide childcare and physical activity resources for the children, and healthy family meals for participants and their children at no cost based on this support.   If you wish organize a Parents Matter! program at your school, church, or community organization, call 919-231-4006 or email [email protected].