Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LUNCH AND LEARN; Agency Helps Balance Parenting and Work the First Coast Family Center Offers Parenting-Tip Lunches to Businesses

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LUNCH AND LEARN; Agency Helps Balance Parenting and Work the First Coast Family Center Offers Parenting-Tip Lunches to Businesses

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

The First Coast Family Center, a child-abuse prevention agency, is trying to extend its parent-education programs to the community through brown bag lunch sessions at businesses.

The agency, with an office in the Orange Park area, normally serves disadvantaged and low-income families, said Carrie Plocher, the center's director of parent aid for Clay County.

"But we feel that parents in all areas of society can use some parenting tips," she said. "The fact is everyone can benefit from being around other parents."

Also Plocher said she hopes the "lunch and learn" sessions can be a way for the non-profit center to make some money.

The center, which gets some state and United Way funding, provides a variety of services to help parents under stress avoid abusive behavior through counseling and mentoring programs for adults and children.

"It's a very practical program. It's brought a lot of families a lot of good," said Chance Irvine, who volunteers as a mentor. "People need to know about us. There are a lot of real effective programs that we have and lots of great opportunities for volunteers."

About 15 employees attended the first lunch and learn session at AmSouth Bank's administrative office in Deerwood.

Dan Hilken, vice president of AmSouth Bank, is on the center's board of directors. He's also a member of Leadership Clay.

"When I learned about the center's initiative to take a more proactive approach, I threw it out to our company and there was actually a pretty strong interest," he said. …

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