Kerri Clouse, Transitions director, and Chrissy Jones, assistant director, encouraged TTCCR’s partners to share the news.
“We only started in September. Word of mouth is very important because we just started this program,” Jones said. “We are trying to get the word out. This is not just for families you work with [juvenile cases]. This program is for your neighbors, your friends, your kids in school— anybody you know.”
Families of all walks and socioeconomic levels are welcomed. The focus of Transitions’ seven-week program is to target families with children ages 10-14. During this time, students are most likely leaving elementary school, adjusting to middle school or entering high school. These normal transitional periods often trigger stress for both parents and children.
The seven-week course is also an opportunity for families to re-evaluate their values. Clouse said it is easy for parent and children interactions to be lost in a technology-centered world. Each Transitions session is an opportunity to consciously slow down.
“One night a week— this session [starting Jan. 22] will be held every Tuesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. — the family will meet for a family meal at the beginning of each session. BICC will provide the food. This is where the family can sit together and visit with each other, which is a lot for this day and time,” Clouse said. “Some families say this is the only time they get to sit all together.”
Family dinner is followed by breakout group sessions with the parents and children separated. Both groups come back together after an hour for a family session. During this time, families have the opportunity to talk, review and practice new skills learned, work on family projects or play games.
Group topics discussed include: (parents) using love with limits, making house rules, encouraging new behavior, catch them being good, using consequences, and building bridges; (children) having goals and dreams, appreciating parents, dealing with stress, following rules, reaching out to others and handling peer pressure; (family) hopes and dreams, appreciating family members, family meetings, family values, building communication and putting it altogether.
“The two group topics are similar. If parents are talking about limit setting then youth may be talking about being more responsible, and consequences,” Clouse said.
Healthy families may utilize the program to ensure continued growth and communication.
“There is no magic answer,” Jones said. “The big thing this program stresses is how important it is for parents to be involved. It encourages talking about how things are going in their children’s lives and being involved in the activities their kids enjoy.”
“All this in turn makes kids more willing to open up and share with their parents.”
Skills learned in the seven-week course can be utilized in other areas of the participants’ lives, Clouse said.
“These are skills the youth can use throughout life. One of our goals is to have youth learning skills which will help them be better parents in the future,” Clouse said.
Added Jones, “The families who graduated in December mentioned how beneficial it was to have that support group of other parents. They may not be going through the same thing exactly, but they still have children and are struggling with different issues. They can get ideas from other parents of what they could have done differently.”
The next session begins on Jan. 22. Clouse said there is no charge for families to join the program and participate. All queries can be addressed to Kerri Clouse at BICC by calling 423-559-1112 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.