ZOSO parenting project in trouble
The Parent Place initiative, which was launched in Mt Salem, St James, as a social intervention project under the ongoing zone of special operations (ZOSOs), is seemingly in trouble as it is not meeting its mandate.
Jacqueline Mills, who heads the day-to-day operation of the facility charged with improving parenting practices, told The Gleaner recently that more children than parents were attending the Parent Place, which was far from ideal.
"The problem is that the parents are just not coming," said Mills. "Even when we have workshops or go into the streets to encourage some parents to come, they promise that they are going to come, but they just don't show up."
According to Mills, often, single mothers said that they were having problems at home, needed skills training, or had issues with the PATH programme, but whenever they were directed to the Parent Place, they opted to shy away.
"I don't know what the situation is, and these girls are at home not working. One or two persons may come, but we really need to see more parents. We want to help them so that they, in turn, can better raise their children," stated Mills.
CHILDREN SHOWING MORE INTEREST THAN PARENTS
However, Mills noted that the children of the community had been taking a liking to the facility, where volunteers help them do their homework, reading lessons, and more.
"We have these children who would want their parents to help them with their homework, but the parents can't read. That is another reason why the children come and why the parents should come - so we can host reading classes for them as well to improve their literacy," said Mills.
Mills continued: "What we now plan to do is try to come up with some creative ways to attract more parents such as going into more churches, homes, change our opening days and time, or host a movie night. But more sensitisation is needed so that we can cut down on the crime and [antisocial] issues of the community."
Mills is again extending an invitation to the parents of Mt Salem to visit the facility. She said that if they do not feel like talking to persons who were already at the facility, then persons from other agencies could be called in to provide counselling.
The Mt Salem-based Parent Place was opened in April to serve as a base for providing parenting information, skills training, and education in a bid to improve parenting skills within households in the community that are currently under the ZOSO security measures.
The initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the National Education Trust; the National Parenting Support Commission; and the United States Agency for International Development, which has provided the funding.