The Important Role of Parent Mentors
At Evoke, parent support is taken seriously. As one of Evoke’s Parent Coordinators, I spend a large part of my time talking with parents and family members whose kids are currently in our program. I can answer their questions about the program, help them navigate the Parent Portal, and I can also let them know about the different support options that are available while their child is with us.
Those support options can look like online parent support groups led by one of our therapists, live webinars with Dr. Brad Reedy where they can ask him questions of their own, or our online parent workshop where parents can learn, in greater depth, some of the communication skills that their child is learning in our program.
There is one additional piece of support that I personally believe to be incredibly helpful, especially in the first few weeks of our program: our Parent Mentor program.
This is something that the Parent Coordinator will offer to the parents after their child has arrived at Evoke. Every parent who is new to Evoke has the option of being set up with an alumni Parent Mentor.
Our Parent Mentors are volunteer alumni parents who have chosen to offer their time and support to new Evoke parents. By reaching out, Parent Mentors provide a unique and valuable connection. I’ve had many new Evoke parents tell me that they feel a sense of loss, confusion, fear, and even loneliness at the beginning. They really just want to talk with a parent who understands what they are feeling in this moment, who truly appreciates what they are going through.
If they decide they do want a Parent Mentor, the Parent Coordinator who is working with that family will look for a mentor whose child was at Evoke for similar reasons. They will also take into consideration family dynamics, location, and other factors.
When the parent receives a call from their Parent Mentor, the hope is that they will feel less alone by connecting with someone who has been in similar circumstances. On this first call, the Parent Mentor will talk about their experience with Evoke and can also answer questions from a parent’s point of view. They are also there to listen to the new parent’s story.
After this first call, the amount of communication the new Evoke parent will have with their Parent Mentor will be up to them. Some parents may choose to limit their contact to the one welcome call, while other parents might check in with their mentor on a regular basis. This support can be through phone calls, text messages, emails, video calls, or sometimes even an in-person meeting. I’ve even been told that some parents and their mentors turn into long-lasting friends, even after their child has transitioned from Evoke.
So if you are a parent whose child has just arrived at Evoke, please know that you have all sorts of different support systems available to you and if you’d like it, the extra support from a wonderful alumni parent who will let you know that you are most definitely not alone in this.