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PCAR fall parenting programs start soon

CONYERS -- Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale is getting ready to assist more parents in the area during its fall classes.

Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 17, the Conyers organization will begin its fall parenting classes for those in Rockdale County and surrounding communities.

Parents and their children have the opportunity to attend one of four classes this year -- Active Parenting Now for parents of children ages 5 to 12 years; 1, 2, 3, 4 Parents! for new parents, especially teens, of children ages 1 to 4 years; Managing Stress & Anger in the Family to understand stress, how anger relates to it and how to deal with their feelings; and Activos Padres de Hoy for Hispanic families.

The programs last six weeks and teach curricula that focus on different topics each week.

"We give parents tools they need to deal with everyday stresses they are up against and how to become better parents," said Diane Howington, executive director of PCAR.

"It's a great refresher. Nobody is born to be a great parent -- usually it's either the same as you were raised or doing the opposite" if there was a bad experience.

Classes are facilitated through volunteers -- individuals like professional counselors, past participants and even college students.

The classes meet weekly until Sept. 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Conyers First United Methodist Church, which is located at 921 Main St. in Conyers. A free family dinner is served at 6 p.m., and classes begin at 6:30 p.m. with adults attending one session, while their children attend another session. Free child care is available.

Registration is required for the classes by calling 770-483-7333 or e-mailing director@pcarockdale.org. Anyone is able to register for the classes; Rockdale residents receive priority if classes become full.

"They are filling up fast," Howington said. "We try not to have more than 20 per class because of the interaction between the people. We want to keep it real personal."

Any individual or group interested in volunteering to watch children, lead a child or adult class, provide dinners or assist in any other way, should contact Howington by phone or e-mail.

"We can always use volunteers," Howington said. "Any help will be gratefully appreciated because everything we offer is free. We want to be accessible to everybody."

PCAR also offers a teen parenting program at Open Campus on Mondays, a parenting class at the Rockdale Department of Family and Children Services on Tuesdays and a course for residents at the domestic violence shelter on Thursdays at Project ReNeWal.

The organization has been in operation since 1989 and has offered parenting classes for more than 15 years.