By Dana Guy (Estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
Dear PEPS Community,
In November, members of the PEPS staff spend time reflecting on work done in the past year and setting goals for the next. As the Executive Director, this is one of my favorite times of the year because I get a unique view of the individual and collective work that has moved forward. In 2022, many things didn’t go as we planned, so we adapted and took some big (not baby) steps forward. I’m filled with gratitude and celebrating the many ways you — donors, Group Leaders, volunteers, Community & Network partners, and the board and staff teams — have advanced the mission of PEPS this year.
Your investment of time, money, and expertise made it possible for PEPS to continue to show up for parents and reach these milestones, serving 2860+ parents in 260+ groups:
After a lot of careful planning and over two years of operating virtually due to the pandemic, we began offering selected in-person PEPS Groups again. Groups are currently meeting at community sites, including the new PEPS Gathering Space — our former office space that has been repurposed into a cozy space designed for connection. We host PEPS Groups and other gatherings for staff, board, Group Leaders, and supporters here. Seeing parents and babies in real life, hearing the room fill with songs, conversation, sweet baby sounds and laughter is pure joy! Most PEPS Groups continue to meet virtually, and we’re thrilled to be offering multiple options to meet different families’ needs.
“The change in 2020 to all virtual groups was necessary as well as an opportunity we’d been considering to increase accessibility. The positive feedback from both in-person and virtual groups affirms that multiple options are meeting the needs of the community.”—PEPS Staff
Program for Parents of Adolescents and Teens (PAT):
After two years of program development and piloting groups, we have officially launched our Program for Parents of Adolescents and Teens (PAT), supporting parents in another critical parenting stage — when parents once again feel alone, unequipped, and overwhelmed. My daughter just turned 12, and while I’m fortunate to have access to a lot of great information about parenting in this phase, what I know and how I respond to the challenging moments are not always aligned. I’m currently participating in a PAT Group, and it’s incredible! I’ve walked away each week with something that helps me shift how I’m showing up to support my daughter. This program continues our focus on innovating our approach to parent support. This year we have hosted 11 groups serving 110+ parents.
“The ability to open up was so liberating. The vulnerability that everyone offered was key. I loved the variety of topics! I didn’t have to show up with my happy mom face, I could simply show up. Overall, I feel more confident in my parenting skill which has helped with stress level.”—Participant, Program for Parents of Adolescents and Teens
Many families have expressed to us a desire to meet and connect with families who share identities that intersect with their identity as parents, caregivers, and as a child. We have been listening and recognize the need for this form of connection. This year we have piloted affinity groups for single parents and working moms and have continued to offer groups for LGBTQIA+ parents and parents of children with developmental delays and disabilities, the latter in collaboration with Wonderland Family Services.
“I would a thousand percent recommend PEPS to anyone! I have especially found the single parent group meaningful to connect and have honest and open conversations with birth parents. It has been SO invaluable!”—Participant, PEPS Newborn and Single Parent Group
PEPS is taking action to further equity for parents and families — both locally and across Washington State. This year, after conducting a comprehensive landscape analysis in 2021, we prioritized our advocacy work in these three areas: Simplify Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program; fund the Perinatal Support Washington Warm Line; and fund a diaper subsidy for families receiving cash assistance.
“I am so excited that PEPS is showing up for families in a new way! They are committed to engaging in issues and policies that affect parents and babies and it’s been inspiring to see how they’re activating the PEPS community to bring better access and outcomes for every family through policies that impact equity in our region.”—Molly Firth, Policy and Advocacy Consultant
In 2021 we increased our staffing capacity and hired a Partnership Manager to streamline and expand our work with partner organizations and reach more communities and families PEPS has not historically reached through direct service. We grew the number of partners we are currently collaborating with nine Community Partners (nonprofit organizations serving less-resourced families in Snohomish, King, or Pierce County) who serve Spanish-speaking parents, Afghan families, Black moms, parents living in low-income housing, parents of children with developmental delays or disabilities and more. Through our partnerships with nine Network Partners (nonprofit organizations or small businesses serving families outside of the PEPS service area), we have expanded our reach geographically beyond King and Snohomish County to serve families in Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina, and more.
“The partnership with PEPS is helpful because you let me tell you what my community needs, don’t try to tell me how to do it.”—Alma Gonzales, Founder & Director, NISO Programs
I am feeling inspired by the power of social connection as we launch into 2023, our 40th Birthday year, with you as part of our incredible community.
Please save this date in your calendar: Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at 11 am! Why? We will be celebrating our 40th birthday at our in-person Benefit Luncheon at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion and I can’t wait to see you there. Stay tuned for more details.
PEPS Executive Director