Staff reports, The Augusta Chronicle
It starts with gathering as a family around the table for dinner. Parents and children then participate in separate one-hour training sessions led by group leaders who are trained in the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) curriculum. The evening ends with families joining back together for a 30-minute group activity or family skills training session.
Every week, for 14 weeks, families who attend the Strengthening Families Program enjoy a good meal, skills-building groups for parents and children, raffle prizes, gift card giveaways, child care, and fun and fellowship with other families. Participating families have at least one thing in common – that is, a desire to strengthen bonds with their children and learn new parenting skills to make their family stronger.
In August, seven families graduated from the Summer SFP program.
“I love seeing the progress each of the families make from day one of SFP to graduation,” said Marilyn Harris, a trained SFP Parent Facilitator. “Somewhere along the way, they realize the program is something they actually enjoy and that it’s helping them to improve their relationships and communication skills at home – and I feel privileged to witness that and be a part of their journey.”
SFP serves families in Aiken and Barnwell counties with children ages 6 to 11, helping them to develop positive discipline practices, improve communication, stay resilient in difficult times, reduce conflict, and learn better parenting skills while assisting children with relationship-building and social skills. All of these factors play a vital role in keeping families strong while protecting against potential adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect.
“I learned how to have more patience and understanding with my kids no matter how difficult it may be,” said Brittany Sheppard, who attended Summer SFP in Barnwell with her six children and had perfect attendance during the program.
SFP provides opportunities and skills for families – many of whom are struggling – to improve their own lives and meet the goals they set as a family.
“We are proud to offer this nationally and internationally recognized evidence-based program to help local families who want to make the commitment to strengthen their family,” said Peggy Ford, Director of Children’s Place, Inc.
Children’s Place, Inc. is a United Way of Aiken County agency that works with families to decrease abuse and neglect of children, increase stability in families, and improve children’s readiness for school. The Strengthening Families Program is funded by Children’s Trust of South Carolina in partnership with the S.C. Department of Social Services and The Duke Endowment.
To sign up for the Fall SFP program on September 13, or for more information, contact Children’s Place, Inc. at 803-641-4144 or visit childrensplaceinc.org.
Source: The Augusta Chronicle