The South Bay can seem big and impersonal, but it is possible to make personal connections one step at a time. And that’s precisely what moms and dads are doing once a month as part of Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) recently formed Parent Connection Group.
After the mad rush of dropping their kids at school, the parents meet at Aviation Park in Redondo Beach to discuss the curveballs that parenthood is tossing their way. At its most recent meeting in November, hot topics like changing schools, bullying and eight-year-old girls who act like teenagers were discussed as the group briskly circled the track.
However, as new Beach Cities resident and first-time participant Cindy Edington pointed out, her motivation for joining the morning walks went a bit deeper. “I want to help my family get acclimated and make meaningful connections with other parents, and this seemed like a great way to meet people.”
“At first, we divided walkers according to their children’s ages,” explained BCHD Project Manager Tessa Garner, who organizes the group. “We soon realized that combining seasoned parents with the newer ones enriched the experience for everyone.”
Because the group is small – generally around ten participants – parents are comfortable opening up to one another in a meaningful way, which Garner explained is how BCHD and partner South Bay Families Connected drew it up. “We want parents to feel supported by one another and form close-knit bonds.”
Linda Buck has actively participated since the Parent Connection Group formed in September. She mentioned that joining the group afforded her the opportunity to befriend parents from other schools in the area – as well as adding roughly 4,500 extra steps to her day – for which she’s grateful. “Building connections takes time, so I’m glad we have opportunities like this in our community.”
The next walk will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 9 a.m. For more information or to join, visit www.bchd.org/familiesconnected.