Program aims to enhance support for African Nova Scotian families


Published on March 20, 2017

One of the facilitators of a new program for African Nova Scotian families says its benefit is the ability to have “real conversations with people who share many of the same experiences.”

Katie Williams is bringing the pilot program, Nurturing Strong African Nova Scotian Families, to Pictou County, along with co-facilitator Jasmine Trott.

“The opportunity to discuss important topics related to parenting from a cultural perspective is rare, and will provide a space for many conversations that would not likely take place otherwise,” Williams said. “Participants in the program will be able to share information, get advice, and exchange stories with other parents from the ANS community, and have the ability to work together to support each other in raising their children.”

It also focuses on “cultural pride reinforcement,” which Williams explained as teaching children how to feel good about themselves and their cultural heritage.

The province announced last February they would train 12 facilitators from African Nova Scotian communities to bring parenting programs across the province.  

Two people attended a local initial overview session held on March 9, with Williams suggesting there may be reservations or questions about the program.

“Up until now, this type of program, a parenting support program with the goal of supporting and enriching African Nova Scotian families in a culturally relevant way, did not exist. It may take some time for people to warm up to the program and trust that the intent of the program is simply provide an opportunity for African Nova Scotian parents and caregivers to support each other, come up with solutions and embrace their heritage.”

Session topics include:

– Raising our children: The realities of race and culture

– Understanding and responding to our children as they grow and develop

– Guiding our children’s behaviour

– Building strong relationships with our children

– It takes a village to raise a child

– The rise of materialism and its impact on our parenting

– Supporting our children’s education

– Instilling in our children respect for themselves and others

– The role of spirituality in parenting.

Sessions are held on Thursday evenings, with travel and childcare subsidies available, and participants can choose to come to all or ones of interest.

For more information, those interested can contact facilitator.nsansf@gmail.com.