County Extension e-Newsletters & Facebook Groups

Welcome and thank you for your interest in implementing a local/county Parenthetical newsletter or Parenthetical Parent Facebook group. Below we describe what is involved in setting up and implementing each of these features. We also include examples and resources that can support your work such as materials for marketing Parenthetical.

Parenthetical e-Newsletter

What is a Parenthetical e-Newsletter?

The Parenthetical e-Newsletter is a weekly or bi-weekly electronic newsletter that is sent by you to parents and professionals in your community who live or work with tweens and teens. Each newsletter includes Parenthetical’s Topic of the Week (provided by the state Parenthetical team), local news and events (provided by you), and helpful resources on parenting and teens drawn from the Parenthetical archives or provided by you. Like Parenthetical Facebook Groups, e-Newsletters are an easy way for you to regularly provide parenting information, connect parents to local events and resources, and showcase your Extension work.

What are the benefits of a Parenthetical e-Newsletter?

Sending a county-based Parenthetical e-newsletter can help you:

  • Provide an efficient way to deliver parenting information to parents of tweens and teens
  • Connect families to local events and relevant topics
  • Introduce and draw parents to Parenthetical
  • Provide a way for you to draw on and share the ever-growing array of resources available on the central Parenthetical website
  • Recruit parents to your Parenthetical Facebook group as well as other UWEX programs
  • Showcase your (FL, UWEX) work

How do I set up a Parenthetical e-Newsletter?

Below is a step by step overview on how to set up a newsletter, build a mailing list, and select content.


Set Up Newsletter

Access your county newsletter template through Parenthetical’s MailChimp account. Log-in to your UWEX Google Drive account. Here you can find the details in you county’s Parenthetical Newsletter Google Drive folder. If you don’t yet have a folder or template, contact Deb Hewko at


Build Mailing List

Create a Qualtrics survey to collect email addresses from potential subscribers. Ask schools, community organizations, and other community partners to send your recruitment request and survey link to parents. Import collected emails to MailChimp. If you prefer, we can create a brief Qualtrics survey for you. Just email Deb Hewko at and she will set it up. For the registration we usually only ask for a person’s email address and Zip Code. However, you are free to request additional information if you think it would be helpful.


Add Content to Your Newsletter

  1. Insert the most recent Parenthetical article into the newsletter using the MailChimp program. You can sign up for your own free MailChimp account or you can have access to the one we use. In order to access our account you will need to contact Deb Hewko at
  2. Check out the MailChimp site for directions on adding content.
  3. Add additional articles from the Parenthetical archives if you desire. Current and previous articles can be found on the Parenthetical website under Past Topics or in the Resources page.
  4. Add local news stories and/or events.
  5. Include a short bio of yourself and your position.
  6. Consider writing a personalized welcome and message. You can find an example of such a message here.

Send Newsletter on a Weekly or Bi-Weekly Basis

Each newsletter takes about 30 minutes to complete. Send every week or every other week to balance the benefit with the time. Schedule to send on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings for the most reads.


Check Your Newsletter Statistics

You can check out the performance of your newsletters including information on how many people are reading them, how many readers are clicking on the links, and how your newsletter readership is growing. To learn more about how to track this information we suggest reading the MailChimp guide on Understanding Reports.

Parenthetical Parent Facebook Groups

What is a Parenthetical Parent Facebook group?

Parenthetical Facebook groups are aimed at parents of 10-16 year olds who live in your county or area. They are facilitated by county or regional Family Living Educators and serve as a support and information community where parents and area professionals can share information, discuss issues of current concern, provide support, and learn from one another.

What are the benefits of a Parenthetical e-Newsletter?

Developing and facilitating a Parenting Facebook group for parents of tweens and teens can help you:

  • Build relationships with parents
  • Help parents strengthen their relationship with their tweens and teens
  • Provide a way to develop ongoing relationships with parents in your county or region
  • Respond to parenting questions and needs
  • Provide a way for you to draw on and share the ever-growing array of resources available on the central Parenthetical website
  • Showcase your local work as well as UWEX’s larger network of resources

How does one facilitate a Parent Facebook group?

Below we provide a step by step overview on how to set up, recruit for, and facilitate a Parenthetical Parent Facebook group.



If you don’t know yet have a Parenthetical Facebook Group and need help setting it up, please contact us. Using your county or Extension Facebook account create a closed Facebook group.  If you don’t have a non-personal CES email address, let us know and we will have one created that is associated with your Facebook group (e.g., That way, if you were to move to another position, your replacement will still be able to access the Facebook group. The next step is to download your localized Parenthetical Facebook header from your Google Docs folder and complete all the group information. If you don’t yet have a Facebook folder or header, contact Deb Hewko at It is helpful to have at least 2 group administrators to facilitate the group. Consider inviting one of your local partners or an experienced parent to help facilitate.



Invite your friends and colleagues to participate. Ask them, in turn, to invite their friends and colleagues. Send the group’s link to parents in your classes, share it through other area newsletters, and ask your colleagues to do the same. Once you have a group formed, occasionally encourage group members to invite other parents that they know. Consider advertising the group on your county website and adding a link. Facebook groups thrive with invitations from multiple sources. We’ve developed a couple of brief-parenthetical-ads and advertising post cards that you can include in your recruitment efforts. Just be sure to include the link to your Facebook group.



  1. Post several times per week for the most activity. The more you post, the more opportunities you have to promote discussion. We have found that posting after 8:30pm or before 7am gets the most response.
  2. For topics to post to the group look for themes in your local news or current happenings in area schools. Personal, inspirational, and supportive posts often get a lot of interest.
  3. Check out our questions-to-spark-facebook-group-discussions for a list of discussion starters to get the conversation going.
  4. We also suggest you take a look at the question of the day list. This list of questions and discussion starters corresponds to the annual calendar and has timely questions for particular holidays, events and time of year.
  5. For additional topics and content to share with your group, check out the Parenthetical website and look under Past Topics or in the Resources page.

Connect & Monitor

  1. Check the group daily to see what’s going on.
  2. Reply to questions that are posed or encourage others in the group to respond with their ideas.
  3. Add your own comments when appropriate but try to encourage responses from other members of the group.
  4. Intervene when you feel it’s necessary but this should be rare.
  5. Our parenthetical-facebook-group-netiquette provides some guiding rules for you to consider and communicate as you facilitate your group. This can help ensure that your parent group is a warm, welcoming, and safe place for everyone who participates.
  6. In order to be alerted when new comments are posted, be sure to turn on your Facebook group notifications.


Review your previous posts to learn how to grow your group. Which posts get the most comments? Which day of the week and what time of day generate the most activity? Did certain topics start valuable conversations among parents?


Additional Promotional Materials for Parenthetical

We have developed a wide array of materials to promote Parenthetical including press releases, Powerpoint presentations, tear-off flyers, and web memes. Most were created to promote the Parenthetical website, but they can be easily adapted to promote your Parenthetical Facebook group or e-Newsletter. All of these promotional materials can be found on our Press Materials page.

Steve Small,
Anna Clarkson,