Community agencies get trained to offer Strengthening Families Program

  • Daniela Jurado, AmeriCorps member at The Brick House Community Resource Center, leads an activity during the Strengthening Families Program training session at The RECOVER Project last week. Contributed photo

  • From left, Daniela Jurado, AmeriCorps member at The Brick House Community Resource Center, and Krystal Duval, PEER ambassador from Valuing Our Children, lead an activity during the Strengthening Families Program training session at The RECOVER Project last week. Contributed photo

  • Keyedrya Jacobs, community engagement coordinator with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Partnership for Youth, leads an activity during the Strengthening Families Program training session at The RECOVER Project last week. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/18/2021 2:38:32 PM

GREENFIELD — Local family-serving agencies and volunteers attended a three-day training session at The RECOVER Project last week to learn about the Strengthening Families Program.

The program, run over seven weeks, focuses on building family relationships through topics such as stress, communication and love. Parents and teens ages 10 to 14 participate together once a week in two-hour sessions where they participate in activities and discussions.

Kat Allen, a coordinator of the Communities That Care Coalition, said the Strengthening Families Program pairs nicely with the life skills classes that middle school students take.

“This is a really, really nice family education program,” Allen said. “It increases the effects of both programs.”

The Strengthening Families Program has been shown to be effective at reducing youth drug and alcohol use by strengthening family relationships, according to a press release from the Communities That Care Coalition.

The six trainees and additional volunteers that participated last week are now able to bring the program back to their agencies and provide its benefits to the community at large. Agencies might not implement the program right away, but Allen said The Brick House Community Resource Center in Turners Falls and The RECOVER Project in Greenfield are eager to add it to their summer services.

The Communities That Care Coalition is seeking to add the Strengthening Families Program to agencies around the region to continue improving family management risk factors, which it identifies in a survey given to middle and high school students each year.

Allen said family management risk factors have been improving over the past dozen years, and this program provides yet another tool for building or supporting family relationships.

“There are a number of other great family programs in the region,” Allen said. “It’s really wonderful for the community to have these tools in our toolkit.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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