Abuse and neglect are chronic stressful conditions that are referred to by scientists as “toxic stressors,” which we now know disrupts the architecture of the maturing brain. This can lead to life-long difficulties in learning, memory, and self-regulation. PEERS is a volunteer and community supported program designed to prevent and/or interrupt destructive cycles of abuse, and build constructive home environments that facilitate their children’s healthy development.
PEERS offers parenting education courses free of charge. Childcare is provided free of charge for parents attending these classes. In addition, PEERS has a program for teen mothers ages 19 or younger, a Kindergarten Readiness Program, and free Drop-in Child Care available three mornings each week. The goal of PEERS is to teach constructive parenting skills, to encourage positive interaction between parents and their children, and to assist families in developing and carrying out a long range plan for the healthy development of their children. PEERS office hours are Monday - Thursday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Friday 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Parenting classes are held Monday through Thursday evening.
The PEERS program was launched in 1977, and for many years, was the only one of its kind in North Carolina. Since then, the program has gained acceptance as a model for reducing stress and building resiliencies in families. In 1983, the program was recognized by the North Carolina Preventative Services Training Institute as one of the most cost effective and comprehensive family service programs in the state. The Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services was presented to the PEERS volunteers in 1987. In recent years, individual PEERS volunteers have received the Governor's Award and the JC Penney Golden Rule Awards for their service. Major funding for PEERS comes from the United Way of Onslow County, Onslow County Partnership for Children (Smart Start), the City of Jacksonville, and donations from individuals, churches, businesses, civic groups and fundraisers.
For more information see the PEERs website.