Any parent looking to influence the growth and development of their adolescent children can join a free family strengthening program called Transitions.
The seven-week program for the entire family will be held Thursdays, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at Grace Community Church, Mouse Creek Road. A meal will also be provided along with child care for younger siblings under the age of 10.
All families with children ages 10 to 14 are invited to register and attend the fun-filled, family strengthening program of the Bradley Initiative for Church and Community. There is also a $50 cash incentive at graduation for those who complete six of seven BICC Transition sessions.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “During the years from ages 10 through 14, children undergo many physical, emotional and mental changes. Together these changes can throw the lives of young teens and their parents off-balance. Major problems may arise, particularly among children who are already at risk of school failure.”
BICC launched Transitions in August 2012, in response to the need expressed in the community to strengthen families, according to Brenda Hughes, BICC executive director.
“The Transitions program is going very well,” Hughes said. “We recognize that of all the issues BICC has identified through the one-to-one listening process, almost all of those issues can be addressed at the root if you strengthen the family. So our new focus and new energies are spent around strengthening families.
“The Transitions program is a key piece of that because it works with children in their transitional years between elementary, middle and high school — the years that are so difficult for youths and families to go through.
“Research has shown that those are the most vulnerable times in young people’s lives to be influenced by negative behaviors. So the Transitions program is a preventative program that helps families who are struggling. The entire family needs to attend because we recognize that struggles inside the family relate to the whole family.”
The fun, but educational seven-week program, (Strengthening Families Program 10-14) is recognized nationally as an evidence-based curriculum that is used by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and the U.S. Department of Education. It begins with a family meal, after which parents and youths meet in separate groups led by certified group leaders.
During the final hour, parents and youths come together to work on projects that strengthen family bonds and communication.
Joe Mullins, BICC’s new Transitions director, said, “I think any family in Bradley County with a child between the ages of 10 and 14 will benefit tremendously from this program, because the skills that are encouraged, taught and reinforced will be applicable to any family — whether that family is in a high-risk category or not.
“Who wouldn’t benefit from having improved communication skills, problem-solving skills, stress management skills and the structure that the course can help instill in a family as far as being proactive in dealing with problems before they become problems? You learn to have a more proactive stance as a family unit, as opposed to a reactive stance.”
Research confirms most young teens face erratic emotions, rebellion, low motivation and peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and premarital sex. Those who get through their adolescent years successfully and grow into responsible adults usually make the transition with strong family support. With many outside influences to distract children and complicate their efforts, BICC’s Transitions program offers a positive impact to strengthen families and reduce problems while improving the academic success of youths ages 10-14.
To register, contact Joe Mullins at 423-559-1112, or visit www.bicc-inc.org/ Transitions.html.