What happened next surprised me. I found a community of friends and families. I found a support network. I found resources on how to be a better parent. I became a better parent. It was such a profound experience for my entire family that when it came time for us to move on to preschool, I wondered, "What now?" Incredibly, the friendships that we formed only grew stronger, and to this day, remain a vital part of our lives. From this, the idea of the Pea Pod grew and took hold. Our eight founding board members are all alumni of the Eastside Family Cooperative who wanted to expand the idea of "Co-op" past the toddler years and create more opportunities for other families to benefit from this kind of experience.
~Tara Sawyer, Executive Director
OUR FOUNDING BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tara Sawyer, President
Jennifer Shuping, Vice-President
Jennifer Jacobs, Secretary
Dawn McNeill, Treasurer
Lucia Biancalana Cantone
Our Vision. The Pea Pod Family Resource Center is an intentional support and learning environment. It is a premier model for empowering families and a vital part of the greater community. By offering a wellspring of resources that are needed throughout the stages of parenting, we provide a foundation for raising healthy, active citizens while improving the well being of our participating families. Grouped within one convenient location, resources include shared childcare, parenting workshops, wellness classes, networking, and social opportunities. By providing access to these resources and by encouraging peer education, we create ongoing enrichment opportunities, which enable families to flourish.
The Pea Pod is an idea born out of the desire to share an incredible experience of community. In 2010, when my daughter was almost two years old, my family joined the Eastside Family Cooperative, which is a parent run childcare program for children ages 18 months to 3.5 years. Both my child and myself were ready to get out into the world, and we needed a change from our home bound routine. I was not working, and therefore could not justify a nanny or day care, so the co-op idea was appealing. It would be a way for me to get a little time to myself while my daughter had a chance to socialize with other kids. There was a high level of required involvement, but I didn't mind the idea of doing the work that is necessary in a co-op. The way I saw it was simple. I'm doing the same amount of work alone, so why not do it along side other parents?