Make the Connection is a seven-week program that has been in place for over 10 years. This year, the program, run by Muskoka Family Focus, returns on Oct. 12.
"Make the Connection is a program for parents and caregivers with children between zero and 12 months," said Samantha Ennest, Muskoka Family Focus's parent educator facilitator.
"The program's primary focus is to help parents and caregivers develop a secure connection with their baby through the use of rhymes and songs and parent discussion," she added.
Ennest said her first contact with the program was 13 years ago when her youngest child was a baby, and she decided to participate. For more than 10 years, she has been experiencing the workshops, not as a parent but as a facilitator.
"These workshops are essential because parents need to build a community of other parents around them as they embark on their parenting journey," said Ennest. "Many of those connections are long-lasting. I still stay in touch with some people I've participated with."
"It's an excellent opportunity to build a really deep connection to other people in the inner community, get to know other people, and just be able to share the joys and the struggles of parenting," she added.
Muskoka Family Focus limits enrolment to around 10 families. There are currently two registrations running. One is for the North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic at 5 Centre St. N. in Huntsville, and the other one is for the Literacy Society of South Muskoka at 690 Muskoka Rd, in Gravenhurst.
Workshops will be held every Thursday from Oct. 12 to Nov. 23 in Huntsville. For Gravenhurst, workshops are every Monday from Oct. 16 to Nov. 27.
People interested in signing up can reach out to Samantha Ennest at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information regarding other Muskoka Family Focus programs, visit their official website.
"We get a lot of really great feedback from the parents who participated. And we usually end up with a bit of a wait-list for registration," she said. "It's certainly a program that families in the community know and have been looking forward to."
Julian Orlando Chaves is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with the Huntsville Forester. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Huntsville Forester