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About Us

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Hand in Hand is a non-profit organization, founded in 1989 by Patty Wipfler and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Parents feel great love and caring toward their children, but often have to learn the art of parenting without the benefit of mentoring or support. Hand in Hand was founded to help parents learn to build the lasting, close relationships their children need in order to thrive.

Our approach is centered on the importance of interpersonal connections both for children and for their hard-working parents. Backed by research in attachment and brain development and by 35 years of teaching and practice, Parenting by Connection is simple and effective. It offers parents and children the chance to grow and learn from the deep caring they have for one another.

We work with parents of children of all ages, with special emphasis on the early years. Our classes and workshops are available in English and Spanish, and our materials are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.


We foster healthy parent-child relationships that will last a lifetime.

Our approach teaches parents and professionals how to meet children’s core emotional needs, create support for the work of nurturing children, and reverse the damaging effects of stress in their lives.


Our original name was Parents Leadership Institute.

Our classes, workshops, and leadership training programs have been effective with in a wide variety of settings, and with parents of varying backgrounds. From keynote addresses at statewide conventions to small groups of parents meeting one time or many, our message, materials, and practice have been brought to home visiting programs, immigrant parent groups, statewide drug prevention programs, local agencies, medical professionals and neighborhood groups.
Until 2002, the organization did most of its work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recent growth has seen the creation of the three-week Tantrum Training curriculum, the six-week Building Emotional Understanding curriculum, and the development of Certification Training Programs for parent leaders and professionals in both English and Spanish. By the end of 2007, there will be 28 certified teachers and assistants teaching in 4 states in the US. Over its history, Hand in Hand has sold over 400,000 Listening to Children booklets.


Hand in Hand offers talks, classes, one-day workshops, custom trainings, keynote presentations, support groups, instructor training and one-on-one parent consultations. All are available in English and in Spanish. Free articles in both languages, a rich collection of parent success stories, and a listing of events are available on our web site.

In order to foster the teaching of Parenting by Connection, Hand in Hand offers a 60-hour Certification Training Program for established parent leaders and professionals. The program is available in English or Spanish, and certifies candidates who acquire the necessary skills and understandings to teach using the Tantrum Training and Building Emotional Understanding curricula. The Distance Learning option requires that a participant have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection.

Agencies, schools, child care centers, medical teams, home visiting programs, health programs, and other organizations partner with Hand in Hand to reach over 2500 parents and professionals with quality information and practices each year.


Hand in Hand classes and workshops have demonstrated the ability to:

Reduce the stress parents feel in their relationships with their children.

Increase parents feelings of support in their community.

Decrease parents feelings of isolation.

Increase parents ability to listen to and support their children.

Increase parents satisfaction in communication with their children.

Increase parents enjoyment of time spent with their children.

Increase parents understanding of how their experiences when they were children influence the way they themselves parent.

Increase parents ability to cope positively with an upset child.

Here is one parent’s story:
“I have a two-year-old son and a sixteen-month-old daughter. When my daughter started walking, she began to invade my son’s territory. They were constantly fighting, crying and having tantrums. I used to give them time out and isolate them until they could calm down, or command them to stop crying and yelling.

“In the class, I learned to do Staylistening and Special Time with them. Amazingly, by the second week of the Tantrum Training Class, the occurrence of tantrums had significantly decreased. Not only that, my husband both really enjoy the Special Time with our kids.

The Tantrum Training has completely changed our parenting approach. Being able to connect to our children has become the first priority in our relationship with them. We could not believe that a three-week workshop could transform us and help us to be more confident as parents. Many thanks sincerely from our hearts.”


Our 2007 priorities are as follows:

1. Instructor Certification – Add 20 new English instructor trainees in March and 15 Spanish-speaking trainees in Fall 2007.

2. Sustainable Funding – enlarge, develop and embrace our donor community through service and outreach, board development, passive funding strategies, membership, grants and partnerships.

3. Curriculum Development - Develop Emotional Readiness for Kindergarten; pilot Adolescence Preparedness Training in several locations in 2008. Evaluate it for formal curriculum development.

4. Obtain research funding to further validate the transformational effect of our curricula and practices.

5. Increase outreach to new parents, caregivers and professionals working with children through our monthly e-newsletter, distribution of a quarterly newsletter, and continued use of available media (discussion groups, blogs, etc.) to spread our message and help parents build support communities.


Patty Wipfler has over 30 years experience working with parents and children of all ages and backgrounds. She teaches Parenting by Connection, which helps parents meet the core needs of their children and build effective support systems for themselves. She has led weekend workshops for parents and their children throughout the U.S. and in over 22 countries of the world, and has spoken widely to parent, caregiver, and parent educator groups. Her booklets on listening, parent-to-parent and parent-to-child, have sold over 400,000 copies in 10 languages, and have been incorporated into a variety of parenting programs in the US and several other countries.


Jeff Crowe, Chairman
Partner, Norwest Venture Partners
Atherton, CA

Mary Lou Johnson
Owner/Director, Happy Hall Schools
Planning Commissioner, City of San Bruno
President, San Bruno Rotary Club
San Bruno, CA

Kathy Neuman
Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank
Menlo Park, CA

Sara Smith, R.N.
Program Specialist, Hand in Hand
Santa Cruz, CA

James Hill
Principal, Hill and Company
Oakland, CA

Fred Barson
Principle, BlueBolt Marketing
San Francisco, CA

Patty Wipfler
Director, Hand in Hand
Palo Alto, CA


United States


California, Maryland, Washington


PO BOX 1279
PALO ALTO, CA 94302-1279
Phone: (650) 322-5323
EIN: 77-0234719

A Gift Card


Listen to Children

One literature set

This gift will provide our most popular publication and the cornerstone of our program for strengthening parent-child relationships. Written for parents and caregivers, it explains in down-to-earth terms what children want and need from the people who love them. You'll learn why children express their feelings so fully, and how to help them with their difficulties. You'll learn how your child's mind works, and how...


Give Understanding

One class scholarship

This gift will provide a scholarship for a parent in need to participate in our six-week Building Emotional Understanding class. This class builds connection in stressed families, furthers parent's understanding of their own and their children's emotional needs, builds support within the family and the community and helps parents reduce family stress and communicate their love and caring to their children.