First Presbyterian Church


The VIP Group, formerly known as the Parent Group, of the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello is offering a five-week workshop.

The workshop will meet on Tuesday, September 26, at 6 p.m. and will meet at the same time on the following four Tuesdays. A meal and childcare are provided at no cost, and the workshop is open to anyone who wants to attend.

The series, I Hope You Dance: Crucial Parenting Steps, will consist of several TED Talks given by a variety of presenters who use stories, humor, and plenty of practical suggestions in their teaching. Some of the presenters are Brene Brown, a noted researcher and author in the area of shame and vulnerability, Bruce Feiler, author of “Walking the Bible” and “The Council of Dads,” and Kristen Race, another parenting researcher. All the speakers are parents themselves who offer their insights through the TED Talks in order to help parents learn how to stay in step with their kids throughout life.

Topics covered in the series will be: (1) What is a “good enough” parent? (2) How do we get our kids to dare greatly? (3) Practical steps to help guide kids in an uncertain world, (4) Steps to help move parents in Generation Stress from surviving to thriving, and (5) What is whole-hearted parenting?

Kathy Carmical, Licensed Professional Counselor and member of First Presbyterian Church, along with Emily Stell, Licensed Associate Counselor, will facilitate the TED talks each week. The First Presbyterian Church requests that all who wish to attend pre-register with the church by calling or leaving a voice message at 870-367-6883 or by emailing [email protected] so that preparations can be made.

The VIP (Values in Parenting) Group, which is one of First Presbyterian Church’s more popular community outreach programs, is intended to create a safe, calm, and confidential venue for parents and other caregivers to share and receive encouragement, support, and helpful suggestions about childcare. It is an open group, meaning that the group is open to any in this community and the surrounding communities. An open group also means that people who wish to attend can choose to come at any part of the year and can participate as long as they would like.

“Having childcare provided and a wonderful meal is a big bonus. I can only imagine what that must mean to our single parents that come,” said one parent.

The schedule of events for a night begins with a meal at 6 p.m. Childcare begins at 6:30 p.m. while the parents remain in the Fellowship Hall for the TED video, followed by a discussion that lasts until 8 p.m.

Average attendance during the series is about 20-30 people whose ages range from late teens, 20’s, 30’s and up. Singles, divorced or divorcing, married couples, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers attend. The parenting group has helped more than 250 people over the past thirteen years and hopes to see that number rise.

“For me, this group started as a way to simply get out of my house when my kids were three and newborn,” said one parent. “I never expected to grow so much as a parent within the group. I’ve learned parenting skills I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve also calmed down dramatically in my daily life.”

“Instead of getting through each day as tantrum free as possible, it keeps the reasons I have for parenting my children the way I do at the forefront of my mind,” said another attendee. “If that was all the group offered, it would be a great success. The parenting group is so much more than just learning about parenting.”

The VIP Group is supported by the First Presbyterian Church and is conducted through the CE Committee within the church. Tax deductible donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church, Monticello with a notation of “VIP” or “Parent Group.”