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Pathways leads the way with Positive Parenting Program

Juliana D. Norwood | 1/16/2013, 5 p.m.

Founded in 1978 by educator and activist Bea Gold, Pathways was an early leader in promoting child care programs that are inclusive of children with special needs. Today, Pathways is the single largest nonprofit resource for child care and early education services for low-income working families with young children in Los Angeles.

Pathways is driven by the belief that education programs improve children's kindergarten readiness and long-term academic success. Its mission is to strengthen low-income and vulnerable working families, promote quality early care and education services for children of all abilities, develop knowledgeable early-care providers, and promote economically resilient communities.

Pathways accomplishes its mission through comprehensive programs that strengthen low-income and vulnerable working families by helping them pay for top-notch child care services so they can become economically self-sufficient. The programs further promote children's overall well-being and development through their participation in high-caliber early care and education programs in their communities.

Pathways remains guided by its founding principles as it promotes strengths-based education and best practices for child development by increasing the access of quality child care to families in the community; supporting child care providers with training, an extensive resource library and referral program; caring for children with two child care sites (in Eagle Rock and West Hollywood) that offer innovative activities, curriculum and therapeutic services for more than 100 children of all developmental levels and abilities; and advocating for programs that assist families and children with special needs.

"Positive parenting is critical to children, families and society as a whole," said Pathways Executive Director Duane Dennis. "As rewarding and enjoyable as it is to be a parent, however, it's not always easy. It can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting."

Pathways has announced a new Positive Parenting Program. The free, first-time effort funded by the L.A. County Department of Mental Health (DMH) has been created to support effective parenting and improve parenting skills.

"Parents have the important role of raising happy and healthy children, yet most of us begin parenthood unprepared," said Dennis. "The challenge for all parents is to raise healthy, well-adjusted children in a loving family and a stable home environment.

"There is no single right way to be a parent," Dennis elaborated. "Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which values and behaviors you want to encourage in your child and to develop your own unique approach to addressing problem behaviors and bringing out the best in your child.

"The Positive Parenting Program aims to make parenting easier and more enjoyable," he said, adding that the program can help parents encourage more positive behavior in their children; manage problem behaviors; become more confident and be more realistic about parenting.

Additionally, the program offers parenting classes, opportunities to talk with other parents, access to confidential advice and other helpful resources. It also is designed to help resolve such common concerns as:
* Challenges of becoming a new parent
* Aggression and tantrums
* Balancing work and family
* Difficult sleep habits
* Lying, disobedience

Pathways is unique in that its programs are open to the general public, community-based, prevention-based and focused on early intervention. The programs further promote children's overall well-being and development through their participation in high-caliber early care and education programs in their communities.

Pathways is one of only seven organizations in the county selected to receive the DMH grant. "Results of this program will be important for future funding," Dennis noted.

For more information on Pathways programs, visit http://www.pathwaysla.org.