Children and families are the foundation of our communities, and when they are safe, strong, and supported, we all benefit."
This description of prevention describes well the work of The River Center and other family resource centers across New Hampshire. Families, just like each one of us individually, need other people, we need community. Some families have loving support from the extended family- aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. Support for families might come from the families at your child’s school or from your neighbors.
It truly does take a village to raise a child. Who do I put down as my emergency contact that is a trusted friend or relative? Who do I call when I am worried about my child’s fever? What if I need someone to watch my children after school? Who can help me? These are all very real issues for parents.
Building a strong network for the family benefits everyone in and around that family. The River Center can help. We host many different opportunities for parents, caregivers, and children to come together, learn new parenting strategies, meet new friends, and enjoy new adventures. Whether you are expectant parents, have a newborn or a teen or all the ages and stages in between, you are not alone. And there is joy in sharing this awesome and many times overwhelming journey with others. Parents, caregivers, and children all benefit when they are connected and supported.
When I had our first baby, I felt very alone. I didn’t know anybody else with young children, having recently moved to New Hampshire from Maine. The pediatrician and my mother-in-law were my support system. My husband was very supportive, but he was new at this too. Let’s just say, I needed a friend. I met Sharon, mother of two young children aged 1 and 3 years old. Sharon became my friend. She became my go-to for questions, panics, reassurance. And through Sharon, Dave and I met other young parents. We started building a network of support for ourselves and for our family. Sharon and Larry kept our eldest daughter when I was in labor with our second daughter. Maureen, our mutual friend, came and stayed with our girls when I was in labor with our third daughter. And so it went. We were supported. Our children were safe and secure within our friend network.
When we moved, we found new friends who have supported us and continue to support us. When Dave had to take me to the ER, Todd came and stayed with the girls while they slept. When my mother died before Thanksgiving that year, Chris made a mountain of food to share with my extended family. And recently, when we needed help, Sterling came and sanded the icy driveway, Linda made cookies, and Todd stacked firewood. These friends have provided our family with a strong network, helping us to bounce back from tough times, and helping us celebrate many joys.
Friends. The Girl Scouts have a song that says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” The River Center is a place where families can meet families, friendships can grow, and a supportive environment for families can blossom.
The River Center