Earlier this year, One Place launched a new series of live, interactive opportunities called Back Porch Chats to help parents connect. Back Porch Chats are NOT trainings. They are intended to be a casual, fun, engaging environment where participants can share experiences, thoughts and ideas with one another.
“It really feels like a group of people gathering on a porch and chatting,” said Joe Coffey, Director of Prevention Services at One Place. “Some people feel comfortable enough to share about their experiences, while others simply listen. There is no pressure and it is an environment where everyone’s thoughts and ideas are to be respected.”
The first series of Back Porch Chats launched in April 2021 with a focus on the 5 Protective Factors. Developed by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust & Prevention Funds, The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework is an international initiative aimed to develop and enhance five specific characteristics (called protective factors) that help keep families strong and children safe from abuse and neglect. When these 5 Protective Factors are in place, families have a better chance for positive outcomes, and children are protected against risk factors.
One of the 5 Protective Factors is Social Connections. Research has shown that parents with a social network that includes emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors find it easier to care for their children and themselves. Parents who feel isolated or who have few social connections are at a higher risk for child abuse and neglect. One Place recognized the need, now more than ever, to create a space like Back Porch Chats, where people could connect and share.
With that in mind and the holiday season around the corner, One Place offered a Back Porch Chat earlier this month on managing holiday stress. While the holiday season can be full of excitement, it can also cause stress for families. The Back Porch Chat included information and discussion from an article entitled “4 mindful Tips to De-stress this Holiday Season” written by Clinical Psychologist Dr. Neda Gould, director of the Johns Hopkins Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
In the article, Gould offered these four tips for managing stress during the holiday season:
“We had a terrific time this month discussing Dr. Gould’s article and reflecting on the tips that were offered with people who had attended a Back Porch Chat before and others who were new to Back Porch Chats,” Coffey said. “We also explored some activities around practicing gratitude and how kindness, given or received, has a scientific impact on your body and mind.”
One participant said, “The information provided was a great reminder to keep things in perspective and the importance of self-care. The videos enhanced the presentation points. I also enjoyed the [other] participant’s feedback.” The same participant described the Back Porch Chat as “A nice relaxed yet informative session.”
Back Porch Chats give participants the opportunity to join others from whatever location they choose via Zoom. A One Place staff member facilitates the chat and offers information and tips; however, the Back Porch Chats are driven by the conversation of the participants. Information about building and strengthening the 5 Protective Factors for participants and their families is a key element of every Back Porch Chat.
Back Porch Chats are one hour and include the sharing of articles, videos, and other information related to the chat’s topic. Follow our social media for updates on the next Back Porch Chat.
For more information on the work of One Place visit https://www.oneplaceonslow.org/our-work/child-mental-health/