These are the goals of the 2012 Bradley Initiative for Church and Community Summit on Families and Youth.
Brenda Hughes, executive director for BICC, said leaders in the community are invited to participate but they need to respond by May 25.
“The Summit on Families and Youth is a time for the leaders of our community to come together,” Hughes said.
“One of (the things we want from the summit) is a common statement our community can make on what they feel about families.”
The event will be held at Johnston Woods Recreation Center on June 2 at 9 a.m. There is no registration fee, but donations would be appreciated.
This common statement emphasizing the importance of families will then become the focus for a three-month countywide campaign to raise awareness of family programs, according to Hughes.
“We want to saturate the community for those three months on the value of healthy families,” Hughes said.
Plans are being made for the campaign to run from July to September with August being declared “Healthy Family Month” by the Bradley County and Cleveland City mayors.
“We want to move (programs for families) out of the realm of being stigma to the realm that is a good thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the ‘in thing’ to do,” Hughes said.
The campaign will also serve as a way to highlight elements of a healthy family.
Other goals of the summitt are to brainstorm practice tips for stronger families, organize a list of family programs in the community and present new solutions to unmeet needs of families.
This is the second summit the organization has held. A previous summit, held in 2007, focused on education and was the birthplace of BICC’s Starfish program.
As BICC is hosting the 2012 Summit, it is also preparing to launch a new program called “Transitions.”
Hughes said research has shown there is a spike in negative behavior around ages 10 and 15.
“These are the transitions between elementary and middle and middle and high (school),” Hughes said. “These are two of the most vunerable times in a person’s life.”
BICC is planning a family focused program for children in these transitions.
“We engage the community. We asked them what their concerns are, and we collect all of that information. The last major listening we had ... was the begining of 2011,” Hughes said
For three months, BICC collected nearly 1,000 one-on-one interviews with people in the community.
“What came out of that was the greatest concern was the growing impact of drugs, gangs and crime on our families and our communities,” Hughes said. “So, in April following that we had a community forum on the impact of drugs, gangs and crime in the community.”
The organization also spoke with local agencies about the impacts of these factors in the community.