Posted by Heather Dyer on Dec 05, 2013
The Rotary theme for 2012-13 was Peace Through Service.  In late 2012, then Beaver Dam Rotary President, Stacy Braaksma assigned me the task of developing Beaver Dam Rotary's Peace Through Service project.  As a Guardian ad Litem, the unrest/fighting/conflicts/wars that I see in Dodge County are between feuding parents—parents fighting over their children.  The children then become the collateral damage in the parent wars. 
Dodge County Parenting Project grew out of discussions with Dodge County Social Workers, Dodge County Family Court Counseling, Lutheran Social Services (LSS), Church Health Services and Dodge County Guardian ad Litems.  Its purpose is to provide assistance to parents.  Beaver Dam Rotary contributed nearly $1400, which allowed the launch of the project.
There are many families in Dodge County that are having difficulties with parenting.  These parenting problems have a ripple effect into our schools, our courts and our jails and prisons.  Yet, in Dodge County there is no assistance provided for parents who need help with parenting until after their children are actually injured or the children themselves become dysfunctional.  Once a child is injured and is a "child in need of protection," i.e., a CHIPS case, then the County steps in and provides help.  The purpose of Dodge County Parenting Project is to try to help out parents before their kids get hurt or become dysfunctional.
The Project offers seminars and support for parents who: are having problems communicating with their child’s other parent (during or after a divorce or separation); are stepparents; have a child who has begun misbehaving since a breakup or divorce; have a child who is having trouble with drugs, alcohol or bed wetting; are new parents and don’t have a parenting support network; have a child who is getting into trouble at school or doesn’t seem to fit in.
Dodge County Parenting Project is made up of three interconnected, complimentary programs: (1) TransParenting Seminar; (2) Parenting Support Group; and (3) One-on-One Mentors.  The participants will be identified by judges and Guardian ad Litems, Family Court Counseling Services, Social Workers, schools, and self referral. 
TransParenting is a program developed by Families First, Inc. and presented by LSS.  Its focus is on helping parents provide a nurturing, non-threatening environment for children during and after a divorce or separation.  The seminar is four hours.  The parents are guided through identifying their feelings and conflict pressure points in their relationship with their child’s other parent.  It is a self-awareness process.  The parents are also guided through the developmental stages of children, alerting the parents to how the impact of discord between the parents changes as their child goes through each developmental stage.
After completing the Seminar, the participants can then take part in a parenting support group.  The support group, which meets once a week, is designed to provide a non-judgmental, welcoming environment which enables parents to honestly and openly discuss their parenting issues.  Parents are encouraged to help other parents as well as to seek help with their own parenting issues.  The support group will be facilitated by a therapist, Peter Debbnik, who also teaches the TransParenting seminar.   
Anyone interested in attending a TransParenting Seminar can sign up by calling LSS at (920) 887-3171. 
I, as a volunteer, provide for the administration and coordination of the project.  I am also the primary fundraiser.  The project for the most part will be funded by donations.  (Participants in the TransParenting Seminar pay $35, which is but a fraction of the actual cost of the Seminar.)  Currently our only location for the Seminar is Beaver Dam with a cost of just over $5000 per year.  We are hoping in the future to expand to offer Seminars in Juneau and/or Mayville.
We are currently fundraising with the sale of a Beaver 2014 calendar, “Faces of the Beaver.”   The calendar cost $10 plus $2 for postage.    For more information about the Project, or if you wish to purchase a calendar, please contact Mickale Carter at (920) 219-9520, e-mail me at dodgecountyparentingproject  Visit us on Facebook:  Dodge County Parenting Project.