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Oklahoma’s University for Parents launches 2018-19 slate of workshops

Published: Friday, October 5, 2018

In its second year of helping parents and children strengthen their relationships, Oklahoma’s University for Parents (OK-UP) is offering a full schedule of free parenting workshops and provider training events beginning Oct. 9.

OSU-Tulsa faculty established the statewide initiative last year to help Oklahomans strengthen parent-child relationships and build positive parenting skills.

Dr. Amanda Morris, George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Child Development and Regents Professor of Human Development and Family Science, and Dr. Michael Criss, OSU associate professor of human development and family science, founded the organization to meet the critical need for parenting education through community outreach.

As part of that outreach, OSU faculty and trained facilitators lead parenting groups to discuss discipline tools, school readiness, stress management, family routines and family resilience. In addition, OK-UP provides training for family service providers throughout the Tulsa area.

This year, OK-UP will focus on family stressors and adversity and how those affect children, particularly with the high prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among Oklahomans, said Mallory Branch, program coordinator for OK-UP.

Childhood adversity is known to lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, substance abuse and depression as an adult.

Since one of the most common ACEs in Oklahoma is poverty, OK-UP hosted 80 community service providers for a poverty simulation workshop in September to help them better understand the lives of their clients and their daily struggles. Another poverty simulation is planned for January.

Other scheduled workshops include:

  • Oct. 9 – Dr. Sara Coffey, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at OSU Center for Health Sciences, will present “Trauma-Informed Schools.” The workshop will help school administrators and educators to better understand trauma’s impact on learning and how to anticipate and adapt to the changing needs of students.
  • Nov. 13 – Dr. Tessa Chesher, OSU-CHS clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, will lead “Building Resilient Children: Parenting through Life Stressors.”  She will offer parents information about how they can support their children in becoming resilient during challenging times.
  • January – Dr. Amanda Morris, the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Child Development and professor of human development and family science, will lead Active Parenting Training, a specialized curricula designed to train parenting group facilitators to be more effective and successful. Participants will earn an Active Parenting leader certification.
  • Feb. 7 – Ruth Slocum, OSU-Tulsa mental health coordinator, will discuss “Caring for the Caregiver, Teacher or Therapist” on Feb. 7 to give providers practical self-care tools and techniques for working with children and families with a history of adversity and trauma.
  • April 9 – Dr. Lana Beasley, OSU associate professor of human development and family science, will present “Trauma Informed Organizations and Best Practices.” She will discuss how organizations and relationships can be trauma-informed to build resilient communities.

In May, OK-UP will present a screening of the movie, “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope” followed by a panel discussion.

The film explores the emerging science of adversity and childhood stress and chronicles the beginnings of a national movement to prevent childhood trauma, treat toxic stress and greatly improve the health of future generations. The date and time for the screening will be determined later.

To learn more about the organization or to view the year’s workshop schedule, visit the OK-UP website.



Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 |