“BICC recognizes family has an essential role in fulfilling the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of individuals, which is required for communities to prosper,” Hughes stated.
Hughes announced BICC is initiating an awareness campaign promoting healthy families over the next three months. Both Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland have proclaimed August as Healthy Family month.
“Imagine a decrease in child abuse, imagine a decrease in problems in the school, imagine a decrease in drug and alcohol problems,” Hughes urged. “Just imagine how our community could be different if our community could consider itself a family.”
Hughes reported BICC is attempting to form healthy families through three programs: Starfish, Transitions and Inspire Tomorrow’s Leaders Today. Starfish aids parents in becoming their child’s first and most important teacher. ITLT trains and mobilizes middle and high school students to become future productive leaders in the community.
“Transitions will exist to engage families in a proactive process to strengthen their relationships within the family structure and help equip them to thrive as they together navigate the challenges of school and life,” Hughes explained.
BICC has based Transitions on the Strengthening Families Program. According to research, SFP has, ‘twice the effectiveness of the next best school-based program. SFP was found three times as effective as any life or social skills training program implemented with youth only.’
“The key to this program is it has 14 sessions for high risk families and seven sessions for other families,” Hughes said. “The sessions are three hours long and they begin with a 30-minute private family meal. The next hour the parents and children will be separated in two different rooms where group leaders will direct them in an hour long training.”
Hughes explained that most programs end after the training. What makes Transitions different is the families then practice what they have learned. The last part is spent evaluating how the training has helped them. There will be several series of sessions and family-oriented events throughout the year.
Other programs BICC offers include:
- Bridging the Gap Mentoring Program: adults act as mentors to young people between the ages of 8-14 in Cleveland and the Bradley County area.
- Bradley Initiative Credit Union: a community development credit union with the mission of serving low and moderate income people and communities. The credit union provides such services as fairly priced loans to members with imperfect, limited or no credit history and financial education and counseling for its members.
- REACH High school: provides the opportunity for adults who dropped out of high school to earn their diplomas.
In other TTCCR business, David Watts, the project consultant and liaison, urged members to fill out the performance reports. Watts said every six months the TTCCR must prove it is doing what it said it could do with the $800,000 grant.
“We have plenty of progress,” Watts said. “Now we just need to put it on paper.”
The next meeting will take place on July 10 at the Bradley County Juvenile Justice Center.