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Jeannette's Strengthening Families Program wants local facilitators involved

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth ages 10-14 — enjoyed by several families this school year in the Jeannette McKee building — is looking for facilitators, teen assistants, child-care providers and observers to judge the curriculum delivery.

Penn State Extension will provide a facilitator training and certification workshop for the Jeannette site on June 10, 11 and 12, at Donohoe Center, at 214 Donohoe Road in Greensburg.

This training is free, but space is limited.

The Strengthening Families Program was offered this school year at McKee Middle School and will be offered again in October. During the last session, both facilitators were from the Greensburg area but program organizers believe it would be ideal to have facilitators from the local community.

According to literature provided by Penn State University, strengthening family bonds, building life skills in youth and enhancing parenting skills are the primary goals of the programs.

“We hope to run two sessions during the next school year,” said Anne Lail, Penn State Extension staff and coordinator of the program. “It would be wonderful to have Jeannette people facilitate the program.”

The program is a seven-session, evidence-based program that works with youth ages 10 to 14 and their families to address teen behavioral problems and issues of substance abuse.

The program is offered once a week, after school for seven weeks. Sessions for children include having goals and dreams, appreciating parents, dealing with stress, following rules, dealing with peer pressure, peer pressure and good friends, and reaching out to others.

At the same time youth are attending sessions, parents are also being schooled on subjects that include love and limits, making house rules, encouraging good behavior, using consequences, building bridges, protecting against substance abuse and getting help for special family needs.

Families also have joint sessions covering family meetings, family values, building communication and peer pressure.

Residents who are interested in becoming facilitators will be instructed on the curriculum and how to present it to both children and adults.

Lail said, “The positions are part-time and facilitators average 35 hours per seven-week session.”

The program generally starts at 6 p.m. with a family meal followed by an hour-long instructional session beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in the facilitator training should contact Lail at 724-837-1402 or by email at

For more information on the program, visit Prosper_Westmoreland on Facebook.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.