The Berkeley Parents Network is a nonprofit website that allows parents in the San Francisco Bay area to connect. It hosts an interactive forum and a newsletter, allowing local members to share advice and tips about successful parenting on a grassroots level.
Through the Berkeley Parents Network, guardians and parents of Bay Area children can inform, support, and help each other with more access and ease than ever before.
Detailed policies for posting can be found here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/policies
Who founded the Berkeley Parents Network?
In 1993, Ginger Ogle saw a need. She was a graduate student working towards her degree at the Berkeley campus of the University of California while taking care of her two children. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department needed a policy for parental leave, and Ginger created a mailing list as a way to organize and coordinate forces while a group of graduate student parents was working on a proposal. After the proposal was accepted and the policy was adopted, the members of the mailing list went on to implement changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms, as well as a special office on campus for parents.
By 1995, the list’s activity had grown, and the decision was made to open membership to all student parents on campus. By 1998, the list had grown from just 14 graduate students to over 1000 members. The group decided to collaborate with the Neighborhood Parents association and opened up the list to all interested members of the community. The site continued to grow with the four-part newsletter in 1999, along with a separate list for parents of teenagers. The group grew to 10 000 members in the Fall of 2004 and reached 30 000 in 2019. It is still going strong today, with an average of 20 new members joining per week.
What topics are covered by the Berkeley Parents Network?
On the Berkeley parents Network Forums, parents and guardians of children can share advice and information about parenting including:
- Schools and education
- Health and fitness
- Careers and life-work balance
- Relationships and emotions
- Travel and leisure
- Community events and local activities
- And more!
What’s in the Berkeley Parents Network Newsletter?
The Berkeley Parents Network Newsletter consists of five parts, mailed on different days:
The Marketplace newsletter
This newsletter is mailed to all subscribers on Friday. This is a way for members to sell, buy, trade, or give away things. Announcements are made for events such as garage sales, requests for donations from non-profits such as schools and shelters, and requests for housing assistance or living situations.
Announcements are also mailed on Friday. This includes announcements about various activities for kids, services for families and children, workshops and groups for parents, educational facilities with openings, researchers seeking the participation of families, and jobs or family-oriented volunteer opportunities.
The Childcare newsletter
This newsletter is mailed to parents, nannies, and students on Sundays. This newsletter makes it easy for parents and guardians to seek childcare and enables childcare professionals to offer their services to a wide range of potential customers.
The Parent Q&A newsletter
This newsletter is mailed to parents on Wednesday. As the name suggests, this newsletter includes questions and answers from parents to parents, as well as reviews of local businesses and facilities.
The Teens, Preteens, and Young Adults newsletter
This newsletter is mailed on Monday. It includes announcements, questions and answers, and potential connections aimed at parents of older children.
What can I find on the Berkeley Parents Network Website?
The Berkeley Parents Network website includes:
The Berkeley Parents Network offers three databases that contain parent-submitted reviews of different facilities in the Bay area. The databases have been compiled along with license numbers, addresses and contact information, and other crucial information about these facilities.
They’re easily searchable and include:
- Preschools and daycare
- Schools and educational facilities
- Camps, classes, groups, and teams for extracurricular activities
The listings are where you can see posts from subscribers created during the last 4 weeks. Many listings may also have newsletters that are mailed out to subscribers.
The topics in the listings include:
- Announcements for school openings, family services, workshops and classes, camps, and other activities
- Events such as school admissions events, fun events for families, and more
- Childcare listings for guardians seeking childcare and providers offering services
- Marketplace listings for buying, selling, trading, or giving away objects, as well as requests for donations to non-profit organizations
- Parent Questions and Answers, as well as reviews of local businesses
- Tutors and teachers, where educators and tutors can offer their services to parents and guardians
The archives contain the collected Berkeley Parents Network newsletters from 1996 to 2015, filled with advice, reviews, and recommendations from parents on the mailing list.
It also contains archived information from the Parent Questions and Answers section, curated from its inception in 2016 to the present. Threads are categorized by subject and sub-category to make it easy to browse when looking for a specific topic.
Accounts and subscriptions
The Berkeley Parents Network offers two types of subscriptions, which are tailored to different needs. Parents and those about to be parents can subscribe for free, as long as they reside in the San Francisco Bay Area or will be moving there in the near future.
This includes any active guardians of children, including foster and adoptive parents, as well as grandparents or any other relatives taking care of children.
Community member subscriptions do require payment to help pay for the server costs of the Berkeley Parents Network. These subscriptions are for local schools, businesses, organizations, or other individuals who are interested in offering their services or programs to the members of the Berkeley Parents Network. Non-profit organizations may have their subscription fee waived.
Any group or individual with this subscription will need to be local to the San Francisco Bay Area and serve children, families with children, or parents. This includes posting ability and a profile page for inclusion in relevant listings.
You can learn more about the different types of subscriptions here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/subscribe