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Cross-border parenting programme involving Donegal parents celebrates anniversary

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 Cross-border parenting programme involving Donegal parents celebrates anniversary

Parents from Ballyraine National School, Letterkenny who have completed the cross-border SOOC programme

An innovative cross-border parenting programme is celebrating its first anniversary with over 650 people completing the course over the past 12 months.
Shaping Ourselves and Our Children (SOOC) aims to support parents of young children in Northern Ireland and the border region to create a home conducive to good child social and emotional development, inclusiveness and a respect for social and cultural diversity.
The programme is delivered by the Lifestart Foundation, Lifestart Services Ltd, Sligo Family Support Centre, the Dunluce Family Centre and Barnardos.
SOCC say 99% of those who have completed the programme would recommend this course to anyone who is a mum, dad, grandparent or simply anyone who wants to know how to support children.
“Everything we say and do shapes our kids, doing this course has made me realise many things that I would never even thought of,” was the feedback from one parent.
This is the main overriding message that the programme has been getting from those who have completed SOOC.
SOCC helps parents understand how a child’s self-esteem and confidence is shaped at home.
“We look at how the language parents and grandparents use impacts on how a child sees himself and others in our communities,” one facilitator said.
“Many parents believe that SOOC has been hugely beneficial to them. As one parent remarked: “This course was a big eye-opener for me!”

Happy children make happy homes. And happy homes make happy communities. SOOC enables groups to talk about parenting issues that are important to them. SOOC also provides tuition and amazing resources on key topics around communication, empathy, behaviour, play and diversity.
Run over four days, parents get support with babysitting costs and lunch or supper depending on the time of the course. Most agree this is not just a wonderful course but it is a great opportunity to meet other mums, dads and grandparents!

SOOC has 30 trained facilitators with two facilitating each SOOC course. They have seen SOOC support parents/grandparents learn how important what they do in the home is. Helping parents understand how they shape their children for life at home, play-school, school and their communities.
Niamh from Donegal said: “Parents feel really encouraged and find comfort knowing that they are all going through the same issues.
“Many even found new friends. Some parents feel more confident knowing how to approach everyday issues after looking at parenting styles. I feel parents and grandparents leave the group more empowered to make the changes they need to strengthen their bond with their children.”
SOOC will continue for another two years and If you are a group, for example breastfeeding, parent and toddlers, dads support groups, Men’s Shed etc., they would love to hear from you.
This course is FREE and available to anyone who has a child in their life. Keep an eye out for the September SOOCs or contact Mary on 087 210 74 96 or email mary.holmes@lifestartfoundation.org for more information.