To round off the 2010 era, here is a tribute to Trish Brown, former Playroom and Family Support Coordinator, for her 12-year contribution to West Side Family Place.
Trish was the founder of Circle of Sharing, an innovative program at the time, which she developed as a result of her work. Recognizing that many parents sought practical tips for day-to-day challenges rather than theories found in child development books, Trish aimed to create an inclusive atmosphere where parents could share their wealth of knowledge and experiences.
In these sessions, moms and dads determined the agenda, formed smaller groups to discuss specific topics and then reconvened to share findings with the larger group, while Trish gently guided the discussions.
Parents found the program motivating and discovered their own parenting expertise, contributing to a supportive and collaborative community. As the program expanded, Trish then collaborated with Eva to facilitate sessions and even conducted a workshop for facilitators from other Family Places across the city.
A unique aspect of Circle of Sharing was sitting parents and children in the same space, allowing for continuous interaction while discussions unfolded. Trish said: “I aimed for a relaxed atmosphere in Circle of Sharing but noticed parents struggled with being separated from their young children during discussions, even with childminding available downstairs. To address this, we set up chairs in a circle for parents at one end of the playroom, allowing children to play nearby with childminders. This way, children could see and approach their parents anytime while discussions continued. Despite initial challenges, most kids became comfortable in the room with childminders, enabling parents to participate in the sessions more freely.”
Many thanks to Trish for her contribution to supporting families.