Volunteers lead more than 250 PEPS groups each year, and about 150 of those groups are led by new leaders. PEPS has recently invested in new materials for volunteers as well as in the training they receive.
New in 2018 are eight training videos that PEPS created to enhance and develop the training we provide to group leaders.Training leaders is one of executive director Jessica Lawmaster’s priorities. “Our PEPS Group Leaders are at the heart of our impact at PEPS. Leading a PEPS Group is a significant responsibility that requires a great deal of time, intention, and love, and every parent’s PEPS experience is shaped by their Group Leader. At PEPS, we see equipping and supporting our Group Leaders as paramount in our responsibility to the families we serve,” Jessica said.
The video production project was a leap forward in our capacity for training and supporting Group Leaders. Some videos will be integrated into the in-person training, while others are pre-work. The videos are short, feature experts, leaders, real examples and PEPS parents. They can be accessed by leaders at any time.
- The Story of PEPS – overview, history, key concepts and more
- Developmental Moment, Highs and Lows, Arrival Stories and Topic Discussion – four short videos with practical tips and underlying principles of these key elements
- Facilitating a PEPS Group – examples and role-play for creating a welcoming space for all parents
- Emotional Changes and Challenges – helping leaders feel equipped and confident facilitating this important parenting topic
- Cultural Dynamics and Diversity – creating an inclusive environment by honoring differences, acknowledging sensitive moments and being self-aware as part of meeting facilitation
Later this summer, PEPS will fully integrate the new videos into Leader Training.
Kintea Bryant, program director at PEPS, says, “We want to ensure that our Leaders are providing the most current information to our parents, which is why continue to work to make sure our trainings up-to-date on topics and resources that they can provide to parents. The videos are helping us enrich the training we provide by giving visual examples of how a PEPS group works in action. As we expand our reach to communities that may not be familiar with PEPS, these videos provide a small glimpse to leaders of how it looks to lead a PEPS group. Additionally these videos will be useful tools to our Network Partners both locally, and around the country.”
“The videos are great because it’s a flexible way to learn when it’s convenient for the leader. It helps keep the in-person trainings short and focused on interactive learning. Leaders can also go back to them at any time,” said Cate Palmer, volunteer manager at PEPS.
We recently heard from a group leader who facilitated the Emotional Changes and Challenges topic: “Discussion was fantastic, and I think these guys said some really wonderful and challenging things that helped form a safe, reassuring space for each other. I was so impressed. I feel like watching the training video for this session specifically was helpful in preparing me with ideas for responding to a variety of issues and for balancing the individual with the group.”
These training videos are the first of their kind at PEPS and aim to create a strong connection with leaders around PEPS values and mission as well as ensure greater consistency in program delivery.
Recently, PEPS also created a short 2-hour “refresher” training for leaders who may have received training several years ago. “It’s a way for leaders to stay current on parenting topics, facilitation skills and the feedback we receive from parents,” said Cate.
And, earlier in 2017, the Volunteer Manual with the PEPS curriculum and topic guide was overhauled to make planning and leading easier for volunteers.
“We are incredibly grateful for all of our Leaders, and have so much appreciation for the donors who made this Leader support project possible. As PEPS strives to continuously improve, we are committed to being a place where all families have the opportunity to find connection, support, and a sense of belonging. PEPS Group Leaders are the face of PEPS and we entrust them with so much. The resources, tools, training, and support we provide to our volunteer leaders are critical to supporting them as they lead groups,” Jessica said.
About the Author
Laura is responsible for developing and executing an overall communications strategy at PEPS. She has previously worked in marketing, business research and brand.