The Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition to offer free workshops to help parents improve family bonding

The Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition to offer free workshops

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— Guiding Good Choices helps parents and caregivers learn to strengthen their bonds with their children, reducing the risk that their children will use alcohol and other drugs.

This free five-week program will be offered by the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition at the Warwick Valley Middle School on Wednesdays, March 6 through April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Grades four through eightRefreshments will be served and there will be skill-building activities for youth ages 9 to 14.

Partnering with the school district, the coalition is offering the series to help parents build the skills to guide their children toward better choices - even up to 10 years after the program ends.

Led by local Prevention Professional Annie Colonna, CPP, with support by MaryAlice Presto and Lauren Savino of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council (ADAC), this science-based, proven-effective series is designed for caregivers of children in grades four through eight.

Guiding Good Choices is an interactive program. Caregivers will explore specific strategies to help their children avoid drug use and other adolescent problem behaviors, and develop into healthy adults.

ADAC, a coalition partner, will provide skill-building activities for children while their parents attend the series.

Adults practice skills to strengthen family bonds, help their children develop healthy behaviors and increase children’s involvement in family, as well as learning how to set clear family guidelines about drugs.

Research showsThe Guiding Good Choices program, from Channing Bete Company, was developed by Dr. J. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard F. Catalano of the University of Washington.

Their research has shown that when children are bonded to their families, schools and non-drug using peers, they are less likely to get involved in drug use or other problem behaviors.

Studies of Guiding Good Choices have shown that the program is effective in strengthening parent-child bonds and preventing teenagers from starting to use alcohol and other drugs.

According to surveys taken in December 2016 by Warwick eighth grade students, 7.4 percent had used alcohol in the past 30 days; 2.7 percent had used marijuana in the past 30 days; and 11.4 percent had tried vaping.

The series is sponsored by the many Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition partners, including the Warwick Valley Community Center and ADAC.

Materials for the Guiding Good Choices program were provided through a generous donation by the Warwick Lions Club, another coalition partner.

EssentialsThe coalition meets the fourth Thursday of every month at the Warwick Valley Community Center, 11 Hamilton Ave., from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Call Ryan Caldwell at 845-986-6422 for more information.

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