I believe in the Parenting Journey and the curriculum: what it offers and what it can do for families, moms, and dads.” – Michelle Gibbs at House of His Creation
Originally introduced to Parenting Journey in 2010 while working at the Rosalie Hall Maternity Residence in New York City, Michelle Gibbs was so impressed by the training that she decided to run her own groups when she moved out of the state. “I just really believe in Parenting Journey,” explains Gibbs. “I myself was a young mom, so when I went through the training – during those five days it really left an impact on me.”
In November of 2015 Gibbs launched the Parenting Journey program at her new place of employment – Family of Restoration Ministries (FoRM) — an umbrella organization providing care, support, and unified services focused on the restoration of individuals resulting in the rebuilding of families — in Lititz, Pennsylvania. It was not only the first Parenting Journey group to run at her agency but also the first in the state of Pennsylvania.
Building Lasting Connection
In the past year, Gibbs has facilitated two Parenting Journey groups, with twelve graduating mothers. FoRM also offers a monthly support group to graduates, which provides a continued opportunity to socialize and connect with one another, though the parents also organize informal gatherings to stay connected. “They want to do Parenting Journey II,” says Gibbs, “and they even created their own Facebook group where they can support one another.”
Gibbs plans to attend a Parenting Journey II training in New York in 2017 so that she can facilitate additional groups for parents. Her hope is that she can also collaborate with other organizations in the area to make Parenting Journey accessible to more moms and dads. “I want to get other organizations trained because I believe in it [Parenting Journey].”
Like many of the other facilitators who have been trained in Parenting Journey, Gibbs recognizes the power of introspection that helps parents identify patterns in a non-judgmental setting. In doing so, parents can begin to see alternative, more positive paths that are available to them and their families. “If a parent can get through a 12-week Parenting Journey group she’s more receptive to maybe taking a class that deals with the developmental stages and behavior modification,” explains Gibbs, “but I think Parenting Journey gives a doorway to elevate themselves on another level.”
For more information about Family of Restoration Ministries (FoRM), visit www.hohc.org.