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Sesame Street in Communities

Universal Parenting Places Help Memphis Parents Create Healthy Habits

September 26, 2019

Universal Parenting Places Help Memphis Parents Create Healthy Habits Using SSIC Resources

From first words to graduation day and everything in between, parenting offers many highs and lows. While there’s no parenting handbook that addresses every issue that emerges, Memphis has a unique network of resources designed to offer parents needed guidance along the way.

One such resource, the Universal Parenting Places (UPPs), are revolutionary care centers where parents receive professional counseling, information, opportunities to reduce stress and bond with their children, and emotional support for family-related concerns. The UPPs are a signature initiative of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Awareness Foundation, focused on promoting healthy child development and mitigating the effects of trauma. UPPs offer presentations on parent-identified topics and support group discussions, as well as a schedule of research-based alternative therapies designed to foster positive relationships between caregivers and children. These alternative therapies include highly-engaging music, art, and fitness classes for the entire family.

This August, families at the UPP at Christ Community Health Services in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis participated in a series of discussions about helping toddlers and preschoolers develop healthy habits — all based on the lessons found in the Healthy Habits resources provided to the UPPs as a Sesame Street in Communities partner. Over several weeks, a UPP counselor led parents through a series of topics covered in the SSIC materials, including healthy eating habits, resources to cope with family grieving, and creating emergency preparedness toolkits.

UPP Hospitality and Community Outreach Coordinator Brittany Hart said that the SSIC materials made it easier for caregivers to apply new skills to challenging situations at home. “The parents shared how they incorporated what they learned at home and how it has been beneficial for their children,” she said. “We made sure that even our healthy cooking class last month aligned with our discussions, which made the techniques feel even more doable.”

For more information about the Universal Parenting Places, visit

By Jouy Thomas, Communications and Development Associate, ACE Awareness Foundation