Supporting parents = supporting students

By Angie Chatman, SM ‘88  

The MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP) is working with Peace at Home Parenting Solutions in a pilot program to offer our scholars’ families and caregivers tools and strategies to effectively provide ongoing emotional support and encouragement to their high achieving students. As part of the partnership, parents and families will learn how to focus on social/emotional skills, build student confidence and self-esteem, resolve conflicts in healthy ways, and reduce stress. Through the new OEOP – Peace at Home online parenting center, families will have access to classes, coaching, and conversations in English and Spanish.

Peace at Home is an organization that addresses a wide variety of parent challenges. Their approach focuses on tackling family challenges by lowering stress and anxiety, building positive relationship strategies, and when necessary, applying effective discipline and rewards.

Online conversations offered are open forums led by a team of Peace at Home experts. Forums take place in a safe space limited to the OEOP community, where parents and caregivers can ask questions, seek guidance, and share success stories. Coaching involves targeted help in private sessions. The classes include live classes on a password protected group Facebook page, and 24/7 access to the Parenting Solutions library. These classes cover topics across all ages, developmental stages, and a variety of family cultures and value systems.

The pilot program with the OEOP is based in part on an existing collaboration between Peace at Home and the MIT Work, Life, and Wellbeing Center. The OEOP pilot program English offerings are supported by a generous OEOP donor family, and the Spanish offerings are supported by one of our foundation sponsors.

Currently, the pilot program is focused on SEED (Saturday Engineering and Enrichment Discovery) Academy families only, with the goal of expanding to the entire OEOP family over time. SEED students attend public schools in Boston, Cambridge, and Lawrence, Massachusetts, have demonstrated interest in science, technology, and engineering, maintain a B average, and are 12-15 years old.

“Over the past two years families have faced new and different sources of stress related to the global pandemic, working and learning from home, and social unrest. This is layered onto the already existing stress of parenting,” said OEOP Executive Director Eboney Hearn. “Through our partnership with Peace at Home, we hope to offer practical ideas and solutions for our students and their families to manage that stress and support their wellbeing.”