Monthly parenting talks to be served up with dinner, child carePublished on Thursday, September 14, 2017By: Annie OethNow sitting down with medical experts to get advice on parenting can fit into a working parent’s busy week-night schedule.A new series of free evening programs from the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Advancement of Youth is being held monthly, and child care and a light supper are included. The talks are made possible through CAY support from the Junior League of Jackson.The series of programs will tackle topics including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression, learning strategies and parenting skills.Each will be a “one-hour power session,” said Dr. David Elkin, professor of psychiatry and CAY’s executive director, “with time for questions from the audience.”Center for Advancement of Youth leaders involved in Food for Thought include, seated from left, Jennifer Curtis and Dr. Susan Buttross, medical director; and standing from left, Dr. Barbara Saunders, Elkin and Veronnica McDuffey Taylor.Just in time for the new school year, the first program in the series, Sept. 21, will be “Back to School: Optimizing Success for the Child’s Development and Learning,” by Drs. Susan Buttross, Barbara Saunders and Twila Rawson.Later program topics will include mood disorders Oct. 19, parenting young children Nov. 16, ADHD Jan. 4, healthy habits Feb. 22, parenting teens March 22 and autism April 12.All will be held at Norman C. Nelson Student Union on the UMMC main campus.Each talk will start at 6:45 p.m. Junior League members will be on hand to serve dinner to attendees as well as to entertain children ages 3 to 10, while their parents are learning. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for registration and dinner, for as long as it lasts.“Improving the health of children and youth in our community is a goal of the Junior League of Jackson,” said Jean Bertas, who is chairing the Junior League of Jackson project. “By providing information to families, teachers, and youth workers in a convenient format, we can help our children live up to their full potential.”The project began as a desire to reach out to the surrounding community at times and places that are convenient for families, said Sara Hart Fellows, CAY’s community relations coordinator. “The first time a family comes into CAY with their child, we tell them, ‘Welcome to the family.’ Families need to know that we are in this together.”With that in mind, she said, “we began to ask, ‘What can we do for families outside the walls of CAY?’” The idea was born.CAY submitted the project proposal to the Junior League of Jackson, a longtime ally of pediatrics at UMMC. Children’s of Mississippi is an umbrella organization that includes all UMMC pediatric care.While patient families may have been an inspiration for the talks, anyone is welcome to attend, Fellows said. “It would be great if this series of talks in the community could also reach teachers, youth and children’s ministers and foster-care families, people who are hungry to know more.”The program will give parents and other community members a time to interact with experts in a relaxed atmosphere, Elkin said. “It’s not a cold, sterile, medical environment. This will let families and others ask questions, learn and get to know care providers from UMMC.” For more information on the programs, contact Sara Hart Fellows at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (601) 209-5504, or visit umc.edu/answers.