Anna Sawatzky moves from Triple P to the head of The SOURCE
Triple P Team Leader Anna Sawatzky is leaving us, but she isn’t going far: She has been hired to lead The SOURCE, Elkhart County’s System of Care.
Anna has been with Triple P Elkhart County since the very beginning of the program in 2015, when she became one of the first trained practitioners! She had just started working as a Parent Aide home visitor at CAPS when Triple P Elkhart County was formed and there were trainings offered in the community. She was excited about being trained in Triple P, but at first, she didn’t like it. Then she began using it with her clients and loved the way that families responded, taking the information she was giving them and solving their own problems in their own way.
“I saw their relationships improve,” Anna said, and from that, Triple P “clicked” with her.
The biggest realization she had was that she suddenly had a tool to use when she saw a really negative parent interaction during her visits. Instead of feeling panicked, she would ask two questions: “What are the two things you did well there?’ and “what is one thing you could do differently?” It helped her keep a Positive Parenting frame, it helped parents see the things they were doing well as well as the things they would like to improve, and, with most parents, eventually they would be able to improve.
Anna will continue to be a champion for Triple P. As she moves into leadership at The SOURCE, she loves the idea of leading the effort to strengthen the safety net for children and families in this community. There are tons of great people in nonprofits, schools, and government agencies in this county. The SOURCE works with all of these entities to prevent duplication of resources and to fill gaps in helping young people with their mental health and other needs. Anna is especially drawn to the way that The SOURCE includes schools and court services along with nonprofits in its work.
Anna loved being a Triple P practitioner, coach, and team leader. At team leader meetings, she has been part of the work to stay focused on the big picture of getting parenting support to all families in the county. The group talks about locations, people, marketing, overcoming stigma, parenting topics, best times for parents to attend workshops, new research, articles, theories, and personalities, all of which Anna loves being a part of! Her favorite line about the implementation of Triple P is that Triple P is not a set of strategies, it is a process.
“When we learn to do the process well and work families through it, they learn and grow and know that they themselves have made the change,” she said.
She and her husband, Joe, have been married for 21 years and have four sons: Issac, 19; Moses, 17; Levi, 15; and Jesse, 13. Until March, she has all teenagers, and then the oldest, Issac, will turn 20! They have a 15-year-old dog named Marley and a 1 year old puppy named Ferdinand, or Fergie for short. They also have a cat named Oakley that Anna described as a “weird, fat, white, clawless cat with two different colored eyes.”
Anna has traveled to many, many places around the world. She grew up in Ireland. She lived in South Africa for 8 ½ years! She spent three months in both France and the Dominican Republic. She has visited many other places, and hopes to visit more in the future! Her favorite places that she has visited are Belize because of the coral reefs there, and Zanzibar because of the spices, beaches, and because the moon is directly overhead at night. She traveled because of many different things such as family, friends, work, school and other opportunities.
Anna has been key in training dozens of other practitioners and helping them get accredited. She’s led efforts to grow our programming and help practitioners maintain fidelity to the evidence-based model of Triple P. She even wrote a tip sheet on helping parents manage their kids’ screen time before Triple P International was done with theirs, and received the blessing from the head honchos in Australia to use it!
She will never completely leave Triple P and hopes to continue being involved. She hopes to integrate Triple P more into the work happening at The SOURCE over time, but for now, she will continue to deliver workshops when she can to keep that connection to parents, and she will stay involved in the development of new Triple P offerings here in the community.
To say Anna has been a big part of Triple P is an understatement. She will be greatly missed, but we all are excited to see her grow in her new role!
By Brenna Slaight
Assistant Project Coordinator Apprentice
Triple P in Elkhart County