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District launching single parent support group

SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Ann Makena knows better than anyone that raising children as a single parent brings its own specific difficulties, and she's hoping to create a community of others like her.

A single parent educational support group will be launched next week by the South Washington County School District. Makena, a pastor and parenting help book author, will facilitate.

Makena has led parenting classes for the district before, but with this program she is hoping to create a community feel rather than a lecture hall. She said she aims for an interactive space, where parents will share stories and begin to trust each other.

"The hope is relationships will develop and parents can lean on each other and help each other," Makena said. "We all learn from each other."

Adult Enrichment Coordinator Gretchen Carlson asked Makena to start the group, adding to a number of other education support groups the program center has sponsored through the years, including ones for parents of children with ADHD, autism and mental health issues.

"I'm always on the lookout for support group ideas that might help parents in our community," Carlson said.

She thought Makena would be a good fit to lead the program after seeing her passion and experience with single parenting.

"When I met with her initially ... I was so impressed with her knowledge and experience, and knowledge of parenting," Carlson said.

Makena said she's ready to dive into the struggles of the parents in the group, and hoping to give them a judgement-free zone to discuss and learn more about single parenting.

"There's a lot of advantages to being a single parent, as tough and difficult as it is," she said.

The group will meet one Monday each month at the District Program Center, starting Oct. 8.

If you go:

What: Single parent support group

Where: District 833 Program Center, 8400 East Point Douglas Road When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8