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St Joseph Parenting Center Offering Support For Local Residents



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DANBURY — Whether locals want to be a better parent or are facing family challenges, St Joseph Parenting Center of Danbury is available to Newtown residents and others in the area.

While the center opened the Danbury location, 46 Stone Street at the Sacred Heart Parish Center, in February of this year, it has also had a Stamford location since 2009.

It has a mission of strengthening families and breaking the cycle of child abuse and neglect. And St Joseph Parenting Center Volunteer Manager Maureen Decker said recently that volunteers and support are always sought from those who wish to help.

Decker explained that some parents who attend the center are referred from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) while others come to learn. Families are provided with a case manager, and every parent has an in-take meeting with the center’s social worker to make sure classes will be helpful and appropriate.

Programs offered at the center include a general parenting program for all parents; a dad program, “to help dads understand their crucial role as a father;” and a women’s support circle, “a mother’s support group offered in partnership with The Rowan Circle,” according to its website, sjpcenter.org. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish. All classes are free of charge and they are open to all parents with children younger than 13 years old.

Decker explained the general parenting program is offered once a week for 28 weeks. It covers a range of topics, like anger management, behavior and discipline, communication, the effect of media on children, and health and first aid of children. It has a “comprehensive curriculum,” and there is a set lesson focus for each class. The dad program is an 11-week program that also meets once a week.

At each meeting, a meal is served to provide a feeling of nurturing, she said. Sometimes area restaurants donate food for the meals, and other times places or groups, like a St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church of Newtown bible study group, provides meals.

With the opening of the Danbury location, the center is now providing its services to Bethel, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Brookfield, New Milford, and Danbury.

“We’re definitely making a connection in Newtown,” said Decker, “and we are trying to do the same in every town.”

Decker said it is helpful when information about the center is spread so people can become aware of the programs and benefit from them.

All classes are taught by volunteer facilitators who have expertise in the area, Decker said. The center provides the lesson and the volunteers enhance the classes with their own experience and expertise.

Ways To Support

Along with the volunteer supports, Saint Joseph Parenting Center holds fundraising events, like its 13th Annual Benefit Breakfast, which was slated for Tuesday, April 26. Grammy nominated musician and former Sandy Hook resident Jimmy Greene was the planned keynote speaker. More information about the event is available by e-mailing Decker at mdecker@sjpcenter.org.

“I know that children are the future and we need to help their parents bring them along,” said Decker. “And we can do that through parenting education.”

Anyone interested in volunteering and supporting the center can also reach out to Decker by e-mail, mdecker@sjpcenter.org.

Decker said she knows the center is helping families break the cycle of abuse and neglect. And she hopes “word will spread about this valuable resource that is available to parents.”

Decker also hopes that “anyone who would benefit from parenting education will feel confident coming to us for that.”


Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

St Joseph Parenting Center opened its Danbury location with a grand opening event on February 2.
St Joseph Parenting Center is at 46 Stone Street at the Sacred Heart Parish Center in Danbury.
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