Parent Achievers at the YWCA Central Indiana

This Mother’s Day, we celebrate the growth of our YWCA moms.

Terri Starkey has had times in her parenting journey when she found herself in a place where she needed certain resources, but didn’t know where to get them.

In 2005, she founded Parents Encouraging Parents. She discovered that many parents do not seek help when they are struggling because they are unaware of the resources available to them.  Her goal for her program was to be a bridge to resources for parents anywhere, regardless of their demographic.


Terri began volunteering her services at the YWCA almost three years ago.   She teaches a weekly class from a curriculum called Parenting Wisely.   The video program portrays different parenting scenarios, so the viewers can see for themselves whether they do certain behaviors or not, without anyone else telling them they shouldn’t, which prompts self-correction. Terri says the best part of the program is that it is supportive and respectful; it does not put anyone down or make them feel ashamed as a parent.

Every scenario is a real life situation that parents at every walk of life could face. Our residents learn about the different parenting styles and explore their own. They talk about difficult topics such as helping your child when they get bad grades, when your child is being bullied, when your child throws public temper tantrum, when you think your kid has friends that are a bad influence. Terri never comes in to the classes as an expert; rather she uses her own experiences to help prepare them for their own experiences.

Later, she started focusing on skills training and building work competencies. Our residents are able to approach these competencies not just as a parent, but also as an employee. “Parenting is the most difficult job on this earth,” Terri says. “It comes with the least amount of training and the most responsibilities.” The skills they are learning helps change the resident’s approach to parenting, and that can translate out of the classroom into their workplaces.


Right now, our residents are making personalized plans for themselves as parents, including a mission, vision, core values, and individual goal-setting. Some approaches will work, and some won’t. The important thing, Terri says, is that we are giving them strategies and methods. She focuses on providing them knowledge and tools to build up their confidence.

Terri feels that the classes are helpful because sometimes the residents just need someone to listen to them and let them know that they understand. Almost three years later, our residents say this one of the most helpful programs. Terri hears comments like this all the time: “What I really like the most about this class is that you don’t judge us. You talk to us, you listen to us, and you respect us.” And she tries to bring that atmosphere to whatever she does.

We are so thankful for Terri’s dedication to the YWCA, and we are proud of all the growth we have seen in our parent achievers!

Lesley Nickels, YWCA Intern