Life Choices Parenting Program Fund
Life Choices of Central Michigan began in 1986 and the Earn While You Learn parenting program began in 2001. In 2006, Naomi and Jim Stark established what is now known as the Life Choices Parenting Program Fund. The program is designed to help equip parents to handle the struggles that come with parenting. In this program, parents earn credits while learning valuable parenting lessons and then can use those credits to purchase maternity, baby and toddler items from the Joyful Beginnings Store.
“The absence of positive parenting has a direct impact upon our entire community,” Mary Barz, Executive Director, said. “Our youth are at great risk for delinquency, pregnancy, depression and suicide. Many of the families we serve are teen parents with small children who have never experienced what good or even adequate parenting is like. Our goal is to educate young parents who find support through our programs and break the cycle.”
In 2012, the Life Choices Earn While You Learn program was able to serve 128 families. The curriculum for this program includes 200 different lessons including one-on-one structured lessons and group lessons, as well as classes specifically designed for the father. Life Choices of Central Michigan has grown to include client referrals from local physicians, county health departments, churches, and individual and client recommendations.
“Our hope for this fund is that it will grow and one day fund this program,” Barz said. “The needs of this community are great and keeping our Joyful Beginnings Store stocked with the items most needed by low or no income families is difficult. By being fully funded, more time could be spent in serving the families who come to us for help and providing outreach programs to our community.”