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High school reaches out to parents with special meetings

Woodburn High School will be hosting the first of four planned parent night meetings focusing on educating and equipping parents so they can more effectively interact with their teenage children.

The first meeting will be Nov. 19 and the topic is “Supporting Teens in Crisis.” The presentation, which will be held in the high school lectorium, will be led by Children’s Behavioral Health Services, an arm of the Marion County Health Department.

“We want to connect with parents, we want to educate and inform parents about different topics, so we can serve and support them,” said Lorena Sanchez, the Woodburn School District social worker who is teaming up with counselors and principals to present the forums. “So we thought having a parent night would be a way to do that.”

The first presentation, which will be in English but with Russian translation available, will be from 6 to 7 p.m. The Spanish presentation will be from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. Light refreshments and free child care will also be provided.

Representatives from Salud Medical Center in Woodburn and Psychiatric Crisis Center in Salem will also be on hand to provide parents with resources at the first meeting.

The next meeting will be Dec. 12 and will be a discussion on depression led by Oregon Health & Science University. Silverton Health is also taking part in that meeting.

Sanchez said the topics and dates for the third and fourth meetings this year are yet to be determined, but she said she hopes they focus more on the parents’ voice.

The school held one parent forum back in February, through which 40 families were reached, Sanchez said. After that meeting, parents took a survey suggesting future topics of discussion.

“Depression was a topic that parents brought up, which is why we’ll address that,” she said about the Dec. 12 meeting.

Sanchez said students are welcome to come to the meetings as well, but the focus is really so the parents can collect resources and ask questions.

“Parents are targeted more than anything,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez added that the invitation isn’t just for high school parents, but for parents of middle school students as well.

Parents interested in attending don’t have to sign up in advance and can attend for free. If attendance goes well, Sanchez said she hopes this becomes an annual thing.

“We hope to achieve participation and provide some education and information to parents about some very real topics that come up for their teenagers,” she said. “By answering questions, being present, making connections with parents letting them know we’re here, we want to show them we’re supportive and trying to meet their needs.”



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