Grant brings families, communities together

A grant administered by two SDSU professors is assisting families as they improve their communication skills and helping middle school students say no to drugs and alcohol.

In this exercise, youngsters work on communication and team-building skills as they make a circle while blindfolded. Better communication for families was the key component in research conducted by Associate Professor Anne Michelle Daniels and Associate professor Marilyn Rasmussen.

That broad scope of assistance is available through a Children, Youth, and Families at Risk grant from the United State Department of Agriculture administered by Associate Professor Ann Michelle Daniels and how long does cialis last Associate Professor Marilyn Rasmussen.

Daniels sums up the need for this kind of help in one short sentence: “Having a family is hard work.”

The five-year grant specifies that it be put to use in locations where 20 percent or more of the population lives below the poverty level. The work is conducted in Lake Andes cialis online pharmacy in Charles Mix County and in Sisseton in Roberts County.

The grant provides for two specific areas of assistance. The first evidence-based program, Strengthening Families Program – 10 – 14, expects parents with children ages 10 to 14 to meet with team members once a week for watermelon viagra youtube seven weeks to work on promoting positive parent-child relationships to help the families become more resilient.

“SFP 10-14 has been shown effective in improving skills of parents in positive discipline and communication,” Daniels says. “It is also effective in helping youth in the areas of drug and alcohol abuse, conduct or behavior problems, and negative peer pressure.”

In the other phase, the local schools within the two cialis kosten communities offer curriculum designed to help students resist risk behaviors such as using and abusing drugs and alcohol.

“Given the many demands on today’s schools, we’re pleased and a little bit surprised by their support for this program,” Rasmussen says. “They have been very involved and very supportive.”

Communities support program

Another gratifying development has been the willingness of parents to make the time commitment to attend seven weekly sessions.

“The Extension educators were a little bit skeptical about that at the beginning,” Rasmussen admits.

Recognizing the difficulty of making such a commitment, the community team members solicited the help of businesses and organizations in Lake Andes and Sisseton to provide meals, groceries, and babysitting services as inducements for attending the meetings.

“There have been incentives for coming,” says Rasmussen, who notes that the incentives are community-driven and not paid for through the grant. “There is a nice community involvement.”

The community involvement is also reflected in the teams that offer the programming in both towns. The teams—each with more than ten members—are led by an Extension educator with a school representative as the co-leader. Team members include school officials, Extension personnel, community leaders, parents, and students.

Prevention coordinator Jessica Kirkham, an SDSU graduate who was hired through the grant, goes to both locations monthly to sit in on team meetings.

For program participants, timing is everything

The timing of the curriculum for middle school students is no accident. They’re at an important stage in their young lives.

“Middle schoolers are learning there are other people out there besides their parents who make up rules,” Daniels

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For their part, parents learn about positive verbal and nonverbal communication techniques. Family communication, according to Daniels, can be hurt by the wide variety of technological devices that are competing for time in a family’s daily life.

“It takes

time to have a conversation,” Daniels says. “As a parent you have to insist on some of that family time.”

An investment of time is a key ingredient throughout the program.

“That’s the beauty of a seven-week program—time,” Rasmussen says. “You can’t make this happen in one meeting.”

Or, for that matter, in one year.

Middle school students attend the seven-week session with their parents the first year. In the second year they engage in an evidence-based curriculum, LifeSkills Training, that’s taught in school. Many of the same messages they heard in the first year are repeated in the second.

“These kids are involved in two consecutive years of programming,” Rasmussen says. “It is that repetition from a variety of sources that helps it sink in.”

Daniels notes that national evaluation research on LifeSkills Training has shown youth to cut tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana us by up to 75 percent as well as decrease use of inhalants, narcotics, and hallucinogens.

Positive reactions from team members, participants

Positive communication between a parent and child isn’t always easy to achieve.

“That’s not a skill that we all know,” says Daniels, who notes that parents who love their children have to learn how to keep emotion out of their conversations. “Sometimes you have to take a step back.”

Reactions to the program have been positive from team members and from parents.

According to Rasmussen, team members have reported to her, “This is one of the most transforming programs I’ve ever been involved with.”

Team members have told Rasmussen how remarkable it is to see children come into the program unsure about why they’re attending the first meeting and

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emerge seven weeks later communicating with their families.

“Our faculty are 5 mg of clonazepam street value seeing that time after time,” Rasmussen says.

The reaction of parents is of interest to Daniels.

“It always amazes me when a mom will say, ‘I didn’t know that about my child,’” Daniels says.

While the goal of the

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grant is to improve family communication and resilience and help middle school students make healthy lifestyle decisions, Daniels doesn’t see the work as an endorsement of the commonly held notion that there has been a breakdown of the family. Her work with the grant has shown her just the opposite.

“Our families still love each other,” Daniels says. “Parents crave that and kids crave that.”

Dana Hess

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