Pouches' Community Corner

Young Widows' Meet Up

According to Statista there were roughly 15.1 million widows in the United States in 2018. In the same year, an estimated 844,000 children were living with a single widowed parent. This unfortunate reality shows the impact that the death of a spouse has on a family.

The Young Widow(ers) With Children Meet Up allows widows and widowers in the Fredericksburg area to come together as a community and meet in a safe environment.

“Being a young widow with children can be isolating and overwhelming,” says event leader Brianna Simpson. “When people think ‘widow,’ they think old. Unfortunately, that is just not the case for many of us.”

Simpson lost her husband in January 2019 and has been adjusting to life in Fredericksburg with her 2-year-old son. Her experiences as a widow led her to organize this recurring event to bring together parents and children affected by grief.

The meet up will occur in Kenmore Park on July 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. Families will have a chance to meet new people, take photos, play with animals from the SPCA, and enjoy snacks and drinks. There will be printed information on local grief resources at the event. RSVP is requested.

Interested in attending? Visit the official event page at https://widow-ers-with-children-meet-up-11741.eventcreate.com/ 

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Cooking Autism, Inc.

For an autistic child, recreation can be a significant opportunity. Not only is it a chance to practice physical aptitude and social skills, but it can increase motivation and self-confidence. According to Autismspeaks.org, an autistic child mastering a specific activity or sport can have a positive effect on their performance in school and work. In this way, recreation can change an autistic child’s everyday life.

Cooking Autism, Inc. is driven to help children with neurological disorders (including autism) learn how to cook. Participants are encouraged to pick up critical communication skills, learn how to work as a team and be more independent. They can build skills in math, reading, and science, and learn about cooking-related topics such as health and nutrition.

The process is designed specifically for children with neurological disorders. According to Cooking Autism, Inc.’s official website, some of the supports in place include:
• Visual recipes, which break down a complex process into manageable steps,
• Assistive technologies, which provide audiological and visual support,
• Adaptable cooking equipment, which is designed to be safe for autistic children, and
• A step-by-step process, which makes activities learnable and fun for all.

Cooking Autism, Inc. hosts events in the Fredericksburg area, including cooking classes, fundraisers and more. They are dedicated to serving classes, students, teachers and communities by providing support for children with special needs.

If you’d like to learn more, visit cookingautism.org or call (321) 480-5029.

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Village Fathers

Village Fathers is a fatherhood education program and support group sponsored by Healthy Families Rappahannock. Its goal is to help fathers improve their parenting skills by promoting healthy and positive attitudes towards fatherhood and parenting.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, “7 in 10 adults say it’s equally important for new babies to bond with their mother and their father.” Village Fathers equips dad to do just that, forge a bond with their children while learning how to raise them in tandem with the other parent.

The program offers twelve weekly sessions to help fathers to connect with other dads to develop relationships, understand fatherhood and their role in the lives of their children, learn how to parent and co-parent, and more. Upon completing the program, fathers in the Village Fathers program will be seen as more positive role models and active parents in their children’s lives.

The 12 Week Program includes the following sessions:

1. Family History
2. What It Means to be a Man
3. Showing and Handling Feelings
4. Men’s Health
5. Communication
6. The Father’s Role
7. Discipline
8. Children's Growth
9. Getting Involved
10. Working with Mom and Co-Parenting
11. Dads and Work
12. My 24/7 Dad Checklist

Interested in participating in the Village Fathers program? Learn more at healthyfamiliesrappahannock.org/village-fathers, or by calling 540-374-3366 x114.

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Postpartum Support Virginia

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression.

While “baby blues” after childbirth is common—characterized by mood swings, crying spells and anxiety—it becomes postpartum depression when it lasts longer than two weeks.

The thing for mothers to remember is postpartum depression isn’t a flaw or weakness. It does not make you an inadequate mother. It’s a sign you may need additional resources and support.

For new and expectant mothers in the Fredericksburg area, Postpartum Support Virginia stands as the help and support for women and their families who are experiencing postpartum depression.

Founded in 2009 by Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia offers one-on-one support, free peer-led groups, a robust site of information including screening and diagnosis overviews, fact sheets, and training sessions.

Griffen, who struggled after the birth of one of her children, created Postpartum Support Virginia to help other women when she couldn’t find information she needed. Since 2009, the organization has helped hundreds of moms and families get help, support, and healing through this joyous time that can sometimes turn dark.

a newborn baby is held by her dad as he kisses her cheek rK0IP9RSiWhile it’s associated with mothers, men can get postpartum depression, too. Some of the many signs of postpartum depression in men include:

• isolation
• irritability
• increased use in alcohol or drugs
• impulsivity or risky behaviors
• loss of interests and productivity
• feeling emasculated (“I don’t feel like much of a man”)
• Violent and/or suicidal thoughts

A full list of symptoms can be found at Postpartum Men (postpartummen.com), a website dedicated to helping men with postpartum depression.

To learn more about postpartum depression, treatment options, or to find support groups in the area, visit Postpartum Support Virginia’s website at postpartumva.org.

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Bragg Hill Family Life Center

Since opening its doors to the community in 1997, the Bragg Hill Family Life Center has served low-income and underprivileged families and at-risk youth families in the greater Fredericksburg region.

Dr. Joseph D. Henderson, Sr. and Dr. Doris S. Henderson, former residents of Bragg Hill and founders of the Bragg Hill Family Life Center, envisioned a place where people in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city could find refuge. Once they opened the doors, this former youth detention center went from a place of despair to a center of hope for people seeking to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to overcome their socioeconomic setbacks.

Bragg Hill Family Life Center’s goals are threefold as it aims to fulfill its mission to build people:

  • To provide opportunities for mental, moral, spiritual, and educational growth.
  • To serve as an outreach organization for the community and a referral source for individuals needing assistance from local agencies.
  • To be committed to family empowerment.

“This is a great role model for how we can be addressing these issues nationwide.” – Fmr. U.S. Senator Jim Webb

The Bragg Hill Family Life Center achieves these goals through programs geared towards educating adults and seniors, offering assistance through its food pantry, providing emergency and holiday assistance, and hosting annual community events throughout the year for people of all ages.

As a community partner, Bragg Hill Family Life Center emphasizes youth programs aimed at helping the present generation of kids flourish in today’s society, through programs such as sports, academics, or arts and crafts. The directors of the Center also encourage other community organizations to use its facilities to host events and meetings in an effort to make the community better for all people.

What: Brag Hill Family Life Center
Where: 400 Bragg Hill Dr., Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Contact: Danielle Henderson, Program Specialist - (540) 371-3662

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