REPUBLIC The seven-week Strengthening Families Program successfully wrapped up last week with three local families completing the entire course.
Provided by the Republic Reducing Alcohol and Drug use coalition, the Strengthening Families Program is a research-based approach to improving communication between parents and children, increasing resistance to peer pressure and expanding tools for resolving conflict.
“I think that families need a safe place to talk about what is working and what isn't,” facilitator Stephanie Connor said. “They need space to do that with other parents and they also need their kids to have some new skills that complement the ones they are trying out.”
Connor said the hands-on nature of the workshops was a vital element of the successful program.
“The other missing piece in so many programs is putting the two together to encourage practicing those strategies as well as helping the families to find ways to have fun together,” she said.
“It gave us, as parents, tools to communicate with our children on tough subjects without being overbearing or pushy and pushing our children further away from us,” participant Heather Maggi said of her experience through the program. “My boys liked it because they were able to spend quality time together and learn the how each person of our family has different strengths and how those strengths and goals give each of us a place in our family.”
Chris Rose echoed Maggi stating, “We started the program as a way to be involved in the community and discovered that this program is wonderful,” Rose said. “It gives some great tools on communicating with your children. I think this program would be of benefit to everyone. We met some new friends and enjoyed getting together once a week.”
Organizers said participating families expressed a wish to continue meeting monthly for dinner, family fun and additional activities once a month to support each other’s efforts to be “Strong families who care about each other and have fun together.”
The series hosted by the coalition is funded by the state Department of Social and Health Services, Behavioral Health and Recovery under the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative.