Sid Jacobson parenting center brings network to caregivers

Sid Jacobson parenting center brings network to caregivers
The Irene and Ronald Cohen Center for Parenting Engagement and Education was an expansion of Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center’s existing early childhood and parenting services in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center)

Parenting can be a struggle in the age of the internet and social media, but Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills strives to be a resource for parents and caregivers throughout the developmental stages.

Jodi Adler, director of the newly named Irene and Ronald Cohen Center for Parent Engagement and Education, said the center began about 40 years ago with parents moving from the city to the Long Island suburbs who wanted a network of other parents.

Today, Adler said the center still provides a network for parents and caregivers, which now includes blended families, grandparents, babysitters and other family friends, but much of that network is online instead of in person.

“There are the same issues that parents are facing, and what’s changed is the way we communicate,” Adler said. “We don’t rely on face-to-face contact with people anymore because of social media. There’s a lot of information out there, and even though parents and families have the same values, there are new challenges and stressors because of the way the world is and the media that’s coming at us.”

Adler said the center is conducting a survey to determine what the community’s needs and wants from the parenting center are, including positive parenting methods and how to balance work and parenting as well as fun recreational activities for the whole family.

The parenting center will host a family concert featuring the Darlene Graham Trio at 11 a.m. Sunday at the community center. Admission is $30 per member family and $35 per nonmember family.

Adler said the center will also host New York Times bestselling author Beth Kobliner, who will talk about her book, “Make Your Kids a Money Genius (Even if You’re Not): a Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23,” and how to teach your children about finances at a young age.

Admission is $10 for nonmembers and $5 for members.

The center also focuses on workshops and group activities with both parents and children, including the upcoming Art Together Workshops for children ages 2 to 4 with a caregiver present.

The one-hour workshops will be held at 1:30 p.m. April 26 and May 17. Admission is $30 for members and $35 for nonmembers.

“I think it’s so important when the parents themselves come to these groups,” Paul Isserles, associate executive director of the center, said. “It’s their ability to make those first friends in the community that they can both socialize with outside the children themselves as well as set up play dates and bounce ideas off of other parents about what they’re doing and how they’re surviving being a parent. It’s incredibly important to develop those connections, and the best way to do it is when you’re in person, in the same room, connecting with those people.”

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