Director of Triple P in Elkhart County, an initiative of Horizon Education Alliance
The survey can be found at 2021parentsurvey.com
I was living in Texas and had gotten to know some really good friends who are Mennonite. We were all talking about moving somewhere together. One of them who grew up here just kept saying, ‘Really, Goshen is a great place to go.’ I grew up in Latin America, so I’m bilingual, and I knew the Latino community was really growing here. I kind of came here to help be a bridge builder. I have absolutely loved being in this community.
There’s always going to be challenges with kids. That’s just part of raising kids. For some reason in our culture, I think, it’s really hard to admit that. There’s a stigma that’s often related to parents or caregivers reaching out and saying, ‘I need a hand.’ A lot of the work we do at Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is just trying to be everywhere, slowly but surely, so that it feels like it’s more normal to reach out.
Triple P is an evidence-based program that several community organizations decided to bring here back in 2015. I’ve been part of it since the beginning. Basically, what we’re trying to do with Triple P is create a system of support across Elkhart County so that parents and caregivers will feel supported along their parenting journey.
We did a similar survey in 2016 that was very much focused on the kinds of parenting services parents and caregivers felt like they needed. With our new survey (2021parentsurvey.com), we’re going broader. We’re not just focusing on parenting support, but really the wider needs that families in our community have.
To go wider with our survey, we’ve brought on some really significant partners from our community: the Boys & Girls Club, CAPS – Child And Parent Services, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Horizon Education Alliance, The Source Elkhart County, and Crossroads United Way.
We set a goal to reach 2,000 parents, which is twice as many as we reached last time. We’d love to hear from more families than that, but that’s kind of our baseline goal.
With this survey, we’ll have input that can help us with planning of services and outreach and how we do things moving forward. We’d also like willing participants to be part of follow-up interviews or focus groups. That way, we can hear directly from the people we’re trying to serve so we can better meet their needs.
The survey will be open until at least May 14. If we’re not hitting our target of 2,000, we’re happy to extend it out further.
Having been here since there was a large increase in immigrants from Mexico and Central America, I feel like this community has ended up being quite welcoming. I feel like our community has adapted – not always, and not everyone at every moment – but generally speaking, I feel like we’ve been able to be welcoming. Goshen Community Schools, particularly, has done a good job of hiring bilingual staff, making sure communications are in English and Spanish, growing their English-Language Learners program.
Goshen’s not stagnant. We keep changing and growing and improving. Whether it’s how we relate to people or it’s our streets and our downtown area and the restaurants, it just feels like a welcoming, growing, thriving, inviting community.
Writing and editing by Scott Weisser and Neil King
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