PIPsqueaks Group Leaders are
what make the PIP model work.
Our volunteer Group Leaders create a welcoming space for new parents to share, connect, and support one another. They are the best kind of experts: usually parents themselves, and also often grandparents, aunts or uncles. They don't have all the answers, but they are passionate about facilitating engaging discussions which help parents generate ideas, find information, and build neighborhood communities together.
Some of our Group Leaders are giving back as a way of honoring their own PIP experience. Others have children who are too old to be included in a PIPsqueaks Group, and see this as an ideal way to experience the magic of our groups. All will find great joy and satisfaction in helping new parents connect and share through their PIPsqueaks Group.
If this sounds like you, read on to find out how you can become a Group Leader.
Ready to apply? We're excited to meet you! Use the button below to get started.
We love our facilitators to be parents themselves. We appreciate warm, sensitive communicators who are accepting of varied child-rearing practices and diverse lifestyles. Interest in early childhood development, postpartum support, experience in education or facilitation, or previous PIPsqueaks Group participation are welcome pluses.
Leaders commit to working with their group for 10 consecutive weeks (or fewer if you choose to co-lead with a friend, spouse, partner or colleague - more on co-leading below). PIP provides specialized training for every Group Leader, and Group Leaders have access to experienced PIP mentorship.
Tdap Policy - To protect the precious babies in the PIPsqueaks Groups, ALL Group Leaders are required to be up to date on the Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccination (Tdap). Proof of vaccination must be presented at your Group Leader training. Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of your training, and you will not be permitted to lead a group until proof can be provided. Read more about the Whooping Cough epidemic in Texas here.
It's our job to help you have a wonderful, fun, and rewarding experience as a Group Leader. We've designed lots of resources for you, and provide training and support all along the way. The information below outline key details about the role, and includes answers to prospective Group Leaders' most frequently asked questions.
Volunteers attend one 3-hour training session. Training explains the structure of a PIP meeting and provides practice with active listening, group dynamics, meeting planning, and discussion facilitation. Our training is designed to provide new skills and prepare you to lead a group, whether you are a seasoned facilitator or new to the experience.
Each Group Leader receives a handbook that provides detailed information and all the tools you'll need to plan meetings, guide discussions, and support new parents.
Guidance and Mentorship
PIP staff will be available throughout your Group Leader experience to answer questions, provide suggestions, and help you navigate sensitive situations if they arise.
Logistics and Flexibility
PIP works very hard to make a Group Leader's job straightforward while respecting busy schedules, aiming to minimize travel and logistical concerns so you can focus on leading your group.
Group Leaders work with PIP to choose the time and day of the week their group will meet. Typically, daytime groups begin anytime in the 10am to 3pm window, and evening groups start between 5pm and 6pm.
Newborn PIPsqueaks Groups are 10 weeks long, and Baby PIPsqueaks Groups are 8 weeks long. It is possible to take a week off to accommodate a vacation, or line up a substitute to accommodate illness or a special situation. On average, leaders dedicate 4 hours a week including preparation, travel, meeting time, and communication with PIP staff and their group.
This is a wonderful way to divide the time commitment and double the resources for group participants. Co-leaders typically attend the first and last meeting together, and either co-lead or alternate meetings in-between. This helps accommodate busy schedules and allows childcare swaps if need be. It also makes planning and leading groups a more fun, social experience!
Co-leaders are most successful when they are previously acquainted with one another and decide to lead together. Think creatively when inviting a co-leader; consider asking a friend from your PIPsqueaks Group, a colleague or friend who has also participated in a PIPsqueaks Group, or even someone who hasn't been a part of a PIPsqueaks Group. Leading with a friend who is new to Austin or new to PIP is a great way to introduce new folks to the PIP community. PIP participants especially appreciate the opportunity to hear perspectives from leaders of both genders.
Most PIPsqueaks Group meetings rotate between group members' homes (when families are able to invite each other into their homes, it adds a level of warmth that participants really enjoy), but it's also possible to host a meeting in a public location such as a preschool or community center when needed. Some of our PIPsqueaks Groups are hosted by our Community Partners, and take place at their facilities for the duration of the 10 or 8 weeks.
PIP strives to form groups according to geographic area, which means you can lead a group near where you live or work. We cluster groups as tightly as possible within neighborhoods and/or zip codes, making adjustments as necessary to accommodate families as quickly as possible after babies are born. Most groups travel less than 5 miles to a meeting, and members will be consulted before they are asked to travel farther distances.
We ask our volunteers to facilitate meetings without their own children in tow so they can give their full attention to the parents. PIP leaders are very resourceful about finding child care. For example: co-leaders can swap playdates, evening volunteers may have coverage at home, and some even pair with another Group Leader who can handle child care each week while the other leads their group and vice versa.
It is not unusual for a volunteer to need to be absent for a week, whether for a planned or unplanned event. With advanced notice, PIP is usually able to find a substitute for a meeting. Alternatively, a group may decide to meet on their own for one week, and extend the session to an 11th (Newborn)/9th (Baby) week that the leader can attend. Our goal is to ensure that families enjoy 10 (Newborn)/8 (Baby) facilitated meetings, however we can most seamlessly achieve it.
Thanks again for your interest in leading a group! If you're ready to take the next step, click the button below to apply. We look forward to hearing from you!