Parents Anonymous struggles to offer services after funds cut

Parents Anonymous, an organization that has helped families in Kingman since 1985, is facing its biggest challenge this year.

"Parents need the feeling that they are not alone," said Lynn Crane, the manager of Parents Anonymous in Mohave and La Paz counties.

"Parenting can be stressful.

Sometimes parents and children become overwhelmed and need someone to talk to."

Throughout the years the organization has offered parents a lifeline to better parenting skills, and help in learning to cope with stressful situations.

But cuts in funding this year have left Parents Anonymous struggling to make ends meet.

The only two employees on staff have had to reduce their hours of employment, and fewer services are being offered.

"Both Jessica (Crawford, the program coordinator) and I have cut back on our hours.

We cannot afford two full-time salaries.

She is working 30 hours and I am working 32," Crane said.

Five volunteers are also available, primarily to provide child care for parents attending the parenting classes.

Although Title 20 money from the Arizona Department of Economic Security continues to fund the Parent Education Program, other programs are not being offered.

The Parents Anonymous budget has been cut 25 percent this year compared to previous years.

"United Way was hit hard this year.

Because of Sept.

11 they received less money," he said.

"Last year we received $15,000 from them, but this year we only received $5,000.

Grants for specialty support groups such as attention deficit disorder, anger and stress management and parents in substance abuse recovery to gain parenting skills have been applied for, Crane said.

The organization moved to new, larger quarters at 400 W.

Highway 66 in Kingman in 1999, and has offered a variety of programs designed to help parents that feel overwhelmed and need help in learning ways of handling stress, anger and discipline.

The ongoing Parent Education Program spans topics from birth to teens and gives everyone in the family a chance to talk, listen and solve family differences, Crane said.

The three-in-one nurturing program created by Stephen Bavolek addresses issues from infancy through the teen years.

"It is based on the principle that you should "baby-proof" your infant throughout his or her life.

In infancy you baby-proof your home so the child doesn't hurt himself.

"When children start school you can still keep them safe by becoming involved with the school and the teachers, teaching them to handle difficulties with peers and teaching them to say no to peer pressure with smoking, drugs, sex or anything else going on out there," Crane said.

If one component of the family is having a problem, parents and children are affected and both need help, he said.

Crawford said every family has bumps in the road and it is good to get help in coping with the problems before they get out of hand.

The classes teach guidelines of proper behavior for parents and children.

"We help parents become models of proper behavior for children and we teach family members skills for learning to live within a family," Crawford said.

"If nothing else, parents can come to the classes for a few hours to talk with other adults and know that their children will be well cared for," Crane said.

Parenting classes are held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Mondays at 400 West Highway 66.

The classes are free and childcare is offered.

Long-term goals of the Parent Education Classes are: to develop positive self-concept and self esteem in all family members; to increase awareness of self needs strengths and weaknesses; teach alternatives to hitting and yelling; and to substitute nurturing parenting behaviors for abusive parenting practices.

Another goal of the class is to build family support and cohesion and to learn to have fun as a family, Crane said.

For more information call Parents Anonymous at 753-1000.

The Parents Anonymous Family Lifeline crises phone number is: 1-800-352-0528.

"The hotline is available to parents who are feeling stress and at the end of their rope.

Sometimes it helps to talk to a live adult voice at the other end of the line," Crane said.