On March 14, 2013 Postpartum Education for Parents (PEP) celebrated the launch of Baby Steps. I felt like a young mother witnessing the birth of another baby. 36 years ago PEP was “born” with the help of a group of friends. We had a vision for our Santa Barbara community that has exceeded our expectations. Today PEP is ready to inspire others to create their own Parent Support Network. This PEP Project offers a 3-step process to help customize a model that fits the needs of new parents in other communities. Step 1 is to CREATE. Step 2 is to DEVELOP and Step 3 is to EXPAND. PEP believes in peer led social support. The 24 hour, 7 day a week Warm Line has been staffed by PEP volunteers since July 1, 1977. I was the one on-call that day and can still remember the first caller’s question. More than 315,000 hours later, there is a PEP volunteer ready to actively listen, support, offer resources and referrals on that Warm Line. I could not stop smiling at our launch celebration as PEP participants from the past 4 decades and new parents reminisced about their PEP groups. Over ten thousand new parents have attended these weekly gatherings and life long friendships have been established. I’m so proud of PEP! Now you and your friends can do the same in your community. Learn more from the PEP Baby Steps Project website: www.babystepsproject.org
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