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story.lead_photo.caption Parent Café will be held at Callaway Electric Cooperative. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

Great Circle will be offering supportive "Parent Cafés" at Callaway County Electric Cooperative on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17.

The free workshops are focused on supporting families by giving parents a place to make connections and discuss challenges through self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning.

Great Circle, a behavioral health service organization for children and families, is bringing the Parent Café program to Callaway County thanks to a grant from the Children's Trust Fund and United Way of Central Missouri.

So far, Great Circle has run the workshop in-person in Boone County and online in Cole County.

The program is for parents of any background, Great Circle's central Missouri director of home and community based services Beatrice Stewart said.

Great Circle chose Callaway County Electric Cooperative as the location because it had a large space where participants can socially distance.

Stewart said they can host up to 25 people.

"We're very excited," Stewart said. "We hope to get a good turnout."

The training is for parents and caregivers, but free childcare as well as food and beverages will be available.

The program will run 5:30-7:30 p.m. both days.

Interested participants should register by Nov. 6 by emailing [email protected] or calling 1-844-424-3577.

The Parent Café process is supported by Be Strong Families and focuses on parent resilience, positive social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development and social and emotional competence. The program is research- and evidence-based.

According to Be Strong Families, evaluations of the program by partners have found the workshops have helped participants with the ability to listen carefully to children and family members, improved the quality of interactions and relationships with children and positively impacted the ability to handle stressful situations.

From 2012-17, the Missouri Department of Mental Health and Department of Health and Senior Services conducted Parent Cafés that 896 parents and family members attended through Missouri Project LAUNCH. The effort was evaluated by the University of Missouri St. Louis's Missouri Institute of Mental Health.

According to a report on the Missouri project, a large majority of participants said they would recommend the program to others and planned to come back to future workshops.

"It's just a great, great model," Stewart said.

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