With the help of a grant award from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Wesley Housing launched Strengthening Families, a seven-week program designed to enhance communications and relationships for parents and children ages 10 to 14 years old. Strawbridge Square Apartments in Alexandria had seven families complete the course on-site in the Community Resource Center.
“I learned many new things that I didn’t know before the class. My son does very well with the tools and skills learned. We use them almost every day.” – Strawbridge Square resident
Throughout the course, parents and youth met in separate groups for the first hour of class. Parents learned nurturing skills that support their children and were taught how to discipline and guide their youth effectively. Youth were given a healthy future orientation, learned skills for dealing with stress and peer pressure, and grew in appreciation of their parents/caregivers. Together during the second hour, families practiced skills, played games, and took on family projects. Sessions were highly interactive and included role-playing, discussions, learning games, and other assignments.
Parents want to protect and support their children, but it’s challenging. The Strengthening Families Program has been scientifically evaluated, and its research shows that protective parenting improves family relationships and decreases the level of family conflict.
The program addresses the following topics:
- Using Love and Limits
- Making House Rules
- Encouraging Good Behavior
- Using Consequences
- Building Bridges
- Protecting Against Substance Abuse
- Using Community Resources
- Having Goals and Dreams
- Appreciating Parents
- Dealing with Stress
- Following Rules
- Handling Peer Pressure I
- Handling Peer Pressure II
- Reaching Out To Others
- Supporting Goals and Dreams
- Appreciating Family Members
- Using Family Meetings
- Understanding Family Values
- Building Family Communication
- Reaching Our Goals
- Putting It All Together and Graduation
By providing complementary on-site family programs, Wesley Housing aims to help families develop hard skills and get the knowledge necessary to maintain stable housing and live a fulfilling life. Eleven more sessions will be held over the next two years to benefit families in five communities.