'Lunch and Learns' serve up prevention
April 13, 2009
<b><i>NPSP team members visit child development centers during the month of April</i></b>
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Quintin Ewing and Bernadette Wong are on a mission. They are members of a small army of education and support professionals working to raise awareness about child abuse prevention, one family at a time.
Ewing, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI), New Parent Support Program (NPSP), team lead, and Wong, prevention and education team member, are conducting "Lunch and Learns" at USAG-HI Child Development Centers (CDC) during the month of April.
At the events, the team offers parents a large menu of prevention, education and support services through the Army Community Service's Family Advocacy Program. Parents hungry for information about child rearing or family nurturing will likely find it here.
"The Lunch and Learns give the team an opportunity to talk to parents to find out if there is a concern in the family, and address it before it becomes a bad situation. Prevention and education through the NPSP is our first line of defense to prevent abuse and neglect," Ewing said.
Backed by a table full of free resources, information pamphlets, class lists, pocket emergency cards and experience, the team stands ready to assist, in any capacity, as parents pass through the doors of the Peterson CDC, here.
"Are you having any stressors'" Ewing asked a young mother bouncing an infant in her arms.
"Is dad deployed'" Wong asked another with two children at her side, quickly providing a sympathetic ear for mom and stickers for the children.
Ewing said one of the advantages of NPSP is that it allows the team to think outside the box and apply the NPSP services to the needs of individual parents or children.
"If there isn't a need for us now, there may be a need in the future," he said. "We're here to plant that seed of awareness."
NPSP services are for families expecting a child or with children infant to 5 years old. The programs help link parents to resources, teach new skills or improve old ones.
Home visits are completely voluntary and include the following: a home safety check and crib inspection, information about shaken baby syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), safe sleep practices, and the garrison child supervision policy, all in the privacy of the home.
Additionally, the NPSP team offers referrals, resource group workshops, playmorning and infant massage, augmented by a specialized staffed that is able to answer any question about parenting or children.
"Our strength is that we have different disciplines supporting our programs - nurses, counselors, social workers and therapists," Ewing said. "We know the concerns of parents and the challenges that military families face. Having a sympathetic ear and a few stickers for the children can sometimes make all the difference."
For more information about NPSP programs or Child Abuse Prevention Month awareness events, contact the USAG-HI NPSP at 808-655-4227.