Locals become families program facilitators

Contributed photo (L to R): Jess Wilson, Facilitator; Bobbie Jo Penny; Jennifer Heitman; Tina Brotnov; Trena Schlieper; Teresa Dobson; Elizabeth Manley

KAMIAH — The Upriver Youth Leadership Council (UYLC) recently held a “Train the Trainer” facilitators training for The Strengthening Families Program (SFP). This program is a free, seven-week interactive workshop for parents and youths ages 6 to 16, that will begin to be offered in the Kamiah community and surrounding area after the holiday season. Six Kamiah community members graduated the training and are now able to offer the training locally. This is the first time that the program will be available locally.

“I enjoyed the training. The trainer knows SFP and her presentation was excellent. The training was worthwhile and the families who choose to participate in SFP will love the content and collaborative time with their own families, other parents and the caring community facilitators,” stated Bobbie Penney, Owner of Tinytots Learning Center in Kamiah, who participated in the training.

The sessions, which are designed to improve relationships between parents and their children, include dinner, games, discussions, shared activities and more. Each week’s two-and-a-half-hour session begins with a free family dinner. “We will offer yummy and nutritious meals that are family-friendly,” said Sharlene Johnson, UYLC Executive Director. Johnson also noted that there will be family-friendly door prizes throughout the course and that all graduating families will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize at the end of each seven-week session. “We will give a $100 gift card to a local business,” she said.

After dinner, families are divided into groups, with adults and children meeting separately. In their session, youths are led by two trained facilitators through various activities, games and discussions. Issues that are covered include setting goals, appreciating their parents and dealing with peer pressure, among other topics. In the meantime, the parents, working with a trained facilitator as well, discuss different expectations of parents that occur when raising adolescents, such as showing love, setting limits, making house rules and encouraging good behavior. The parents and their children then reunite for a one-hour family activity that promotes team-building. “This program will enlarge your tool belt as a parent,” stated Trena Schlieper, a Kamiah Elementary School teacher who participated in the training, “You will gain skills and strategies that build your family’s relationships.”

Strengthening Families was developed at Iowa State University. Research done there has indicated that youth who took part in the program have had significantly lower rates of using alcohol and other drugs and have also had fewer behavioral problems in school. The program is offered in all 50 states and in more than 25 countries.

For information, including how to register for upcoming sessions, please contact Sharlene Johnson at 208-743-0392 or e-mail upriverylc@gmail.com.

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