We're in this together
Building a community of support through Parent Cafés
Daneal Lightner, content writer
Maria took a deep breath as she reached for the door handle.
She wasn’t sure what she expected to find on the other side, but she opened the door and stepped into the room anyway.
She nervously glanced around at the other faces—some nervous, some welcoming. She quickly took a seat among the other parents. As they shared, she listened.
She heard familiar struggles and triumphs. Maybe she wasn’t the only one having a hard time figuring out this mom thing.
It was dawning on her that she’d isolated herself as a result of all the trauma she’d suffered. If something happened and she and her three children needed help, who would she call? Fear grabbed hold of her as she realized her situation. She was alone. The tears came and they wouldn’t stop.
But then it was her turn to share. Her questions, thoughts, and fears poured out of her.
Maria couldn’t believe how good it felt to be invited, heard, and understood.
A community was there to rally around her and lift her head above water with understanding, community, and friendship.
This is a Parent Café.
Connection is essential
Maria began to see what she’d been missing out on—connection.
And as she continued to attend the monthly gatherings, she grew stronger and more confident, developing connections with other parents to help her through hard days that would be tough to take on alone.
Soon she wasn’t only hearing and receiving advice, understanding, and solutions. She was sharing it.
We all need support and connection. Parents especially. Because none of us was meant to walk through life alone. God designed us to lean on and provide for one another.
Thanks to our church partners, funders, volunteers, and the generosity of donors, we’re doing just that. Together, we’re building innovative support networks across the country, ensuring no one goes through life, or parenting, alone.
Right now, many families are experiencing a deep need for community, connection, and support. To help, Bethany launched our first Be Strong Families Parent Café in Memphis, Tennessee. And now cafés are quickly spreading across the U.S.
Parents leading parents
Parent Cafés are support groups for parents, led by the experts—other parents. Cafés create space for transformative conversations that nurture the spirit of family, promote well-being, and keep families strong.
These groups are designed to connect parents to parents. We all have something to offer, sometimes it’s just finding the space to share.
Our trained staff build and structure each new café then train parents to facilitate them, creating sustainable, long-lasting support networks. Groups meet monthly and follow a researched, evidence-based model to share information, teach parenting skills and resilience, create connections, and build up one another.
The Parent Café model can be tailored for birth parents, foster parents, caregivers, adoptive parents, and anyone with the rewarding and daunting task of parenting.
Parents are busy and have a lot to juggle. Adding one more thing to their schedule isn’t always easy. That’s why we’re working to remove the barriers that keep parents and caregivers from being able to attend. Meetings are often hosted at a partnering church with meals and childcare provided so parents have the time and space to learn, connect, and share—worry and stress-free.
It’s not easy
Parenting is hard. It’s almost impossible to do it alone. We need one another. We need connection. And that’s exactly how God designed it.
Raising the next generation is daunting. But it’s some of the most important work we, as communities and as the Body of Christ, can support.
Thank you to parents, grandparents, foster parents, and caregivers for doing the hard work. Thank you for raising children in a world where it isn’t always easy.
Thank you to those who give their time, talent, and treasure to support parents. It’s an investment that will have an immeasurable payout.
Thank you for being a part of the Bethany family, where we build up one another. Where together, we're changing the world through family.