Parenting Now!

Reaching Out For Help

They say it takes a ­village to raise a family — and it’s true. New parents sometimes can feel alone in their journey through new parenthood. Even when you have family close by or friends with children, your family is unique and requires a certain set of supports. Whether it’s child care, information about family-friendly activities or access to affordable services, every family can benefit from community resources.

I always knew that my son’s behaviors were a little different. As a toddler, he seemed to have no need for sleep, avoided eye contact at times and suffered from severe separation ­anxiety. At 2½ years old, a family member with a background in early childhood development recommended we seek out early intervention.

“Early what?” I thought.

As a first-time parent, I had no idea what that meant or whom to reach out to. In that moment, I felt overwhelmed and alone as I struggled to figure out how to get help for my toddler.

Parents and caregivers never should feel alone. Lane County has an extensive network of services and resources for parents, like me, who require additional support — whether it’s basic needs such as food and shelter or special needs services.

My family was directed to Early Childhood CARES, which evaluated our son and recommended he enroll in the University of Oregon’s BOOST Preschool, a five-week summer program for first-time preschoolers taught by UO graduate students.

My son cried for three weeks straight — the whole time he was there. But toward the end of the third week, something miraculous happened. He finally came around. Thanks to the individualized attention and support he received from of one of his teachers, he finally felt comfortable enough to relax in that environment, and, best of all, have fun! The impact this community resource and EC CARES had on him was profound.

Had we not reached out for help and listened to the invaluable information given to us, I think our son’s preschool experience would have been very different. He needed help, and I needed help.

There are services out there for everyone — you just have to know where to look.

Through the support of the Eugene Active 20-30 Club, ­Parenting Now! publishes its Resources for Families posters and brochures every year to help parents and caregivers find access to everything from emergency services to support for children with disabilities.

And Parenting Now! is excited to announce that the Resources for Families information now is available in a searchable online format at resources.parentingnow.org . The website conversion was made possible with funding from the Early Learning Alliance in partnership with LaneKids.

The printed guide and website work together to broaden their reach to families and —provide updated, at-a-glance information about the full array of organizations and programs available for families, including a brief description of each resource and how to contact them. The site is available in English and Spanish.

Parenting Now! and LaneKids hopes the community can use this new online directory, in conjunction with the printed poster and brochure, to connect with organizations and agencies that can help families raise their children to be healthy, happy and ready to succeed in school and in life. Check them out!