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TITLE 1 PARENT WORKSHOPS – IT TAKES A VILLAGE

J.Rodriguez, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, J. Anderson, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County,  T. Silvasy, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, LuAnn Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County.

Situation: As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed hospitals and claimed lives, households also struggled to cope with job loss and afford housing, food, healthcare, and transportation. Pre COVID-19 income was above the poverty line, but families could not afford the necessary living costs. The poverty rate is 13.3%, and the average unemployment rate in the state is 3.1%. Post COVID-19 families already burdened by debt found themselves in deeper financial and health crises. Extension saw an opportunity to address how to effectively support our children’s education, health, and wellbeing amidst a pandemic. Weekly one-hour, interactive, online, live webinars were organized by the Agents and Orange County Public School System Liaisons. Together we set out to provide families with strategies to reduce stress, eat healthily, maintain an exercise routine, grow your fruits and vegetables, practice mindfulness, and manage money. Methods: Five Extension Agents delivered 12 workshops to 180 participants hosted in English, Spanish, and Creole. The classes were engaging and combined videos, online fillable money management calendars, cooking, gardening, and exercise demonstrations. An agenda, Homeflow workbook, seed packets, stretch bands, and other materials were easily distributed through the 3 bilingual school Liaisons’ collaborative partnerships. Results: Post -Survey results indicated that 72% strongly agreed on the importance of creating an exercise routine. Another 54 % strongly agreed that to reduce screen time and maintain a healthy lifestyle, they would make weekly activity goals with their child limiting an excess of screen time. 40% implemented tracking their expenses using a money management calendar and phone applications to track expenses, and 57% agreed they would make a goal to grow fruits and vegetables together with their child. Conclusion: Parent Workshops provide health, wealth, and overall wellness strategies that help parents cope with everyday issues and effectively engage in their child’s academic success.

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