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CAP Stories: Jennifer & Jane the Social Butterflies

Jennifer and Jane at their first Group Connection. Hands on House

Jennifer expressed concerns about her daughter Jane being very shy and not having much social experience with peers. At church Jane would cry and not allow Jennifer to leave her in the nursery. Jennifer or Jane’s grandmother Bonnie would have to remain with her while the other attended the service.

Jane would often appear visibly scared in new social situations and want her mom to hold her. Jennifer worked together with her parent educator to create a goal to introduce Jane to more social experiences with the hope that Jane would become more secure and comfortable interacting with peers.

Janes parallel played captured. Hands on House

As part of her goal, Jennifer was encouraged to attend Parents as Teachers Group Connections. By attending group connections both Jennifer and Jane would have the opportunity to interact with other families in the program, in a casual setting, where social connection could occur naturally.

At their first event Jane played parallel to another little girl roughly her age and even shared toys. At their next event Jane once again played parallel to another little girl. This time the moms made a connection and chatted. By the third event Jennifer and the mom from the previous event had connected again as their two girls played. Since then Jennifer and the other mom have exchanged phone numbers.

Jennifer and her mom Bonnie (holding Jane), at their second event where they met their new friends. Health and Safety Fair at Manheim Twp. Public Library

They have organized play dates outside of group connections and plan to go to events together. Mom reports that Jane not only gets excited when plans are made with this other family but also that Jane is not scared to be left in the church nursery. There is still some difficulty detaching at drop off but she eventually engages in play.

When the parent educator arrives for visits Jane can be seen at the door waiting with a smile on her face. She will now take the parent educators hand and guide her to the living room to start the visit where as previously she was shy and would hide behind Mom.

Jennifer coordinated with their new friends to not only attend but go to a petting zoo together afterwards. Summer Celebration, East Lampeter Park

Long Term Affects

Both Jennifer and Jane have experienced long term effects of Jane achieving her goal, as both have made social connections. Jennifer has expressed pride in the positive changes she has seen in Jane. Jennifer has also shared how beneficial this new friendship has been to her. As a younger mom she has lost touch with many of her friends since becoming a mom, so she feels good having made a friend that can relate to what she is experiencing as first time parent.

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About Parents as Teachers 

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a home-visiting program that focuses on the parent-child relationship. The model provides services to families with children from prenatal through kindergarten. Participating families receive personal home visits, child screenings, group connections, parent workshops and referrals to community resources. For more information, click here.

About the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County 

The Community Action Partnership is Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, helping low income families move toward self-sufficiency. CAP’s service profile interrupts inter-generational poverty with programs that support families and individuals at every age and place in life, in the areas of education and child development, health and nutrition, household stability and safety and empowerment. For more information, visit