PEPS for Dads
PEPS for Dads Groups help dads get the support they need
The first PEPS for Dads Group
PEPS For Dads Groups
The next PEPS for Dads group will start September 10 and will be held at Twirl Café on Queen Anne. Click here to find out more and register.
I appreciate the relationships I formed with other dads, which provide both on-going parenting support and friendship.”
- PEPS for Dads Participant
~ By Mary Power, PEPS Program Director
The idea of offering a specific group for dads who are the primary caregivers of their babies has been brewing around the PEPS offices for quite a while. Dads join our daytime Baby Peppers Groups several times a year and their feedback tells us that the experience is rewarding for them, even though they might be the only dad in any particular Baby Peppers Group.
We knew that they would really benefit from the experience of meeting other guys who are doing the same things they are doing – caring for their young babies while their wives or partners work.
In 2011, local Dad Chris Casazza came to us and offered to help us get a PEPS for Dads Group started. Chris has been a stay-at– home dad for several years, and his wife had been in PEPS, so he knew PEPS was a great agency to offer this new support group for dads. Chris also has a background in counseling and with his experience and professional knowledge he was a great help in getting the program going.
In the summer of 2011 we did a survey of past PEPS participants to ask what they thought of the idea of offering a group exclusively for primary caregiver Dads. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. With Chris on board and the PEPS community behind the idea, we knew the time had come to make PEPS for Dads a reality.
Fast forward to summer 2012 and the program has gotten off to a great start. We offered the first group in January 2012 and it filled quickly with 10 dads and babies. That group ‘officially’ ended in March after their 12 weeks of meeting with Chris as their volunteer facilitator, but the guys still get together for play dates and dads outings that they coordinate via their Facebook Page.
Ten new dads and babies signed up for the second session of PEPS for Dads. That group started meeting in April and will continue through the end of June. We hold the PEPS for Dads meetings at Twirl Café on Queen Anne, which has a great space for the private meetings and has the added benefit of being a fun spot for the dads to get a cup of coffee after the meetings while the babies play.
Sharing the highs and lows of the parenting journey with others who understand what you are going through is part of what makes PEPS such a great resource to parents in King and Snohomish Counties. You might think that men are not as open to sharing, but one dad reported “I'm not super at ease with sharing personal things so that aspect is always difficult for me, but it is also very rewarding.”
Casazza has told us that once the dads became comfortable with each other and the format of the PEPS group, they are very open and willing to share and benefit greatly from hearing each other’s experiences.
PEPS plans to continue offering PEPS for Dads Groups at least 3 times each year, and possibly expand it to other locations in our area. The next group will start September 10 and will be held at Twirl Café on Queen Anne. Click here to find out more and register.
Chris Casazza had made a tremendous contribution to PEPS and dads in the area by helping us get this program off the ground and in leading three groups this year. As he transitions out of the facilitator role, we will be searching for other volunteer facilitators to lead PEPS for Dads. If you know a primary caregiver dad who would make a great PEPS leader, have them check out our volunteer information and get in touch with me via e-mail at email@example.com.
About the Author
Program Director Mary Power oversees all PEPS programs, including Newborn Programs, Baby Peppers, Little Peppers, and Lecture Series. She is responsible for budget and financial sustainability of groups, staff supervision, and is PEPS' liaison to community partners.
Mary lives in Seattle with her husband Kevin and daughter Miranda. Her first involvement with PEPS was the newborn daytime group that she joined in 2007 when Miranda was born.