Suffield Youth Services strives to coordinate and support youth and families so they may reach their full potential as healthy members of society. As the new Youth Services Director, I would like to introduce myself and let Suffield residents know that I am available for support. I am a licensed social worker and have lived in Suffield for the past 13 years. There are many resources available for families as we navigate the uncertainty of this year. As a parent, I have the same questions many caregivers have right now. What is happening to our children’s connections to their friends and family? How will their learning and social development be affected? When will we be back to “normal”? How can we help our children recover from the loss of connection and learning?
One way we are supporting families is through the Suffield Parks and Recreation Enrichment Program (SPREP), a joint effort by Suffield Youth Services. Opening at the start of the school year, SPREP continues to help parents get back to work during the pandemic by offering a safe and caring environment for children to access school online while parents work. The Youth Center, located at 145 Bridge Street, was created with flexibility in mind and easily converted from a teen drop-in center to an appropriate location for the enrichment program for children in grades K-5. An initiative of First Selectwoman Melissa M. Mack, SPREP is grateful for her support, along with Kent Memorial Library and the Senior Center. Families can sign up for SPREP on the Suffield Parks and Recreation website (https://www.suffieldrec.com).
Suffield Youth Services is also funding a caregiver support service called Peace at Home Parenting Solutions. This service provides virtual live and recorded parenting classes. Suffield families can access the classes for free with the access code, “Solutions21” at (https://www.peaceathomeparenting.com). I urge parents, grandparents and caregivers to check out this service for support as they continue to care for their families during uncertain times. Some topics include: Parenting Teens in Turbulent Times, Managing Virtual Learning at Home, and Help Your Child Feel Safe in a Complicated World.
As the chair of the Suffield Local Prevention Council, I would like to encourage new members to join us. We need caring individuals to help us implement programming for our youth. Stigma plays a large role in individuals getting assistance for their substance use or mental health needs. SLPC believes in spreading awareness about these topics and implementing early prevention methods to assist those who are struggling in our community. Please consider joining our group. We meet virtually on the second Wednesday every other month. Our next meeting is on March 10 at 7 pm.
Please follow Suffield Youth Services on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SuffieldYouthServices) for notification of events and programming. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Kate Powers by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 860-882-2022.