|Two girls review a workbook during one of the breakout sessions at 'Succeeding against the odds'.|
The idea of a community coming together to find a way to improve relationships between parents and kids and kids and their peers was apparently a good one. On Feb. 27, over 400 people attended a workshop intended to do just that at Mont Harmon Junior High.
The program, "Succeeding against the odds" got good reviews from almost everyone and the organizers considered it a big success.
"Someone who does these kinds of things told me that if we got 50 people to come it would be a big success, so what does between 400-500 people mean?" asked Boni Seals who was one of organizers. "All the evaluations we got back were positive. Many people commented that they wanted us to keep doing these kinds of things. Others even asked why we hadn't done it before."
The program was sponsored and organized by the Healthy Families Coalition, which has made its goal to help families survive and thrive in these turbulent times for relationships.
"You know we had no problem with the kids who came to the program and we were very pleased with the support of the community," stated Seals.
The Healthy Families Coalition initially started as a group that wanted to explore ways to keep kids away from drugs and to direct them into more healthy activities. But after the members of the coalition did some research and study in the community they realized that drugs should not be the only concern. Those problems often resulted from disfunction in families and the group turned their focus toward families, relationships and the dangers that come from problems in those areas.
The Feb. 27 program was put together through the input of many people, agencies and even some private businesses.
The evening began with a free dinner for all attendees. Some showed up to the school driving their vehicles, others rode buses that were provided from as far away as Sunnyside and East Carbon.
There was also display booths in the hall at the school with many kinds of agencies giving out information to families on programs that are available to help them.
The keynote address was given by Chris Moore, a well known speaker on family issues and a principal in the "WhyTry" program that is famous across the nation. Moore is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an M.S.W. from Brigham Young University. He has several years experience working with at risk youth, including work as a school counselor at an alternative high school, and as a youth outpatient therapist at a community mental health agency specializing in adolescents with conduct disorder and learning disabilities. More important than his education however, is the fact that Moore grew up in a family where things were not "normal." He has had experience with dysfunctional families from the time he was a child and still copes with problems in his personal life from those experiences. He related some of those to the audience during the presentation.
Then the people in the audience broke into a number of sessions held in various rooms at the school. Sessions included subjects such as profiles in courage in parenting, taking the stress out of discipline, a program on gifted and talented kids, a forum called Mom, look at me, using fairy tales to teach academic disciplines, games to teach parents how to help kids learn math skills, and viewpoints from the bench that was given by Judge Scott Johansen.
Other programs included Dating 101 for teenagers, a seminar on eating disorders and drug abuse, a section on careers and what youngsters face in their future, a session on books for teenagers and another on helping teenage girls have power over their lives and their futures.
Seals says that the program was such a success that the group plans to do something similar next year as well.
"What we need is ideas for what people need and want," she says. "We want people to let us know what we can include."
Seals can be contacted at 636-2371.