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Logistics & Flexibility

PEPS works very hard to make a Group Leader's job straightforward while respecting busy schedules, aiming to minimize travel and logistical concerns so you can focus on leading your group.

Volunteer

Facilitator's role

As a leader, your primary focus is to establish a safe, caring environment in which new parents can support each other and exchange information.

Schedules

PEPS schedules monthly start dates for both daytime and evening Newborn groups in each geographic area, as well as for Second Time Around groups, and volunteers choose to lead the group in their area with the schedule that works for them. Most weekday groups (1 parent) begin at 10:30 am, and evening/weekend groups (1-2 parents) start at 6:30 (occasional Sunday groups start at 5:00 pm). With enough advance notice, a specific schedule could be tweaked to fit yours (either the day of the week, the time, or both).

Group Makeup

If you participated in a PEPS group, it would be easy to assume that the group you’ll lead will be similar to your original experience. It's important to know that we welcome a diverse array of volunteer facilitators —  solo and co-leaders, men and women, parents and non-parents all lead groups. Participants may be joining as first time parents, or may have two or more kids — it's very common for folks to join a Newborn group instead of a Second Time Around or Little Peppers group because they've moved to a new neighborhood and want to meet new friends, or want to carve out time with their new babe, or have scheduling constraints, or just love the home-based model.

Time commitment

Each Newborn session is 12 weeks of 2-hour meetings.  On average, leaders dedicate 4 hours a week, including preparation, travel, meeting time and communication with PEPS office and your group.

Co-leading

This is a wonderful way to divide the time commitment and double the resources for group participants. Co-leaders typically attend the first and last weeks together, alternating meetings in between, which helps accommodate busy schedules and allows for childcare swaps if need be.

Co-leaders are most successful when they are acquainted with one another, but we can help you find a match as well. Think creatively when inviting a co-leader —  consider asking a friend from PEPS, a colleague or friend who has also been through PEPS, or even someone who hasn't been part of a PEPS group. Leading with a friend who's new to Seattle or new to PEPS is a great way to introduce new folks to our parenting community. PEPS participants in evening groups appreciate the opportunity to hear perspectives from leaders of both genders.

Meeting location

Newborn group meeting locations rotate between parents' homes, but it's also possible to host a meeting in a public location, such as a library meeting room or community center. When families are able to invite each other into their homes, it adds a level of warmth that participants really enjoy. In 2016 Second Time Around groups are site-based, meeting at set neighborhood locations. In 2017, we'll be transitioning neighborhood-based groups in homes.

Travel

PEPS forms groups according to geographic area, which means you can lead a group near where you live or work. While our neighborhoods are defined by zip-code clusters, parents have the option to sign up for any group if their schedules or due date make an adjacent neighborhood group workable. Most groups travel less than 3 miles to a meeting in Seattle, and up to 10-12 miles in more suburban communities.

Childcare

We ask our volunteers to facilitate meetings without their own children in tow, since group leaders need to give their attention to the parents. PEPS leaders are very resourceful about finding child care; for example: co-leaders can swap play dates, evening group leaders may have childcare coverage at home, and some folks line up a friend who volunteers to handle childcare each week while the volunteer leads the group. We have seen a group of PEPS Alumni volunteer to rotate play dates so that one or two volunteers can lead or co-lead a group, which is a great way for groups to stay connected.

Vacation

It is not unusual for a volunteer to need to be absent for a week, whether for a planned or unplanned event. With advance notice, PEPS may be able to find a substitute for a meeting. Alternatively, a group may decide to meet in their own for one week, and extend the session to a 13th week that the leader can attend. Our goal is to ensure that families enjoy 12 facilitated meetings, however we can most seamlessly achieve it.

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