PEERS Family Development Center works to reduce child abuse

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)–Making a difference one child at a time: that’s the goal of the PEERS Family Development Center in Jacksonville.

The nonprofit aims to prevent child abuse and neglect by equipping parents with the skills they need to raise happy and healthy kids.

It does that by teaching parenting skills, offering free child care for one hour at a time and parenting programs for pregnant adolescents.

“We’re often seeing the lack of responsibility of parents and getting them to refocus is a big priority for us,” Tondrea Leach, executive director, said. “So they can see not if they’re right or wrong or for that one incident to determine their whole fate, but to help them see a new way of thinking.”

PEERS stands for parent education empathy rapport and support. It began 40 years ago and at the time was the only program of its kind.

“We offer 14 parenting curriculums,” Leach said. “Sometimes people just need a boost and a little bit of help, and we can offer that to them.” One new program is the Kinship Provider program, which offers support for those who are caring for the kids.

The nonprofit is having a BBQ back to school fundraiser Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Each plate costs $8 and includes BBQ, cole slaw, baked beans, hushpuppies, and dessert.

If you’d like more information call them at 910-333-9725 or visit their website.

They’re also always looking for volunteers and for donations.

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