Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships is offering a free Strengthening Families Program for parents and youth ages 10-14, starting on January 16 and running until March 5.

The program is for families with children between ages 10 and 14. There are no other requirements to register for the program. A parent or caregiver and child or children must only be willing to commit to one evening a week for seven weeks.

“It is an evidence-based program to help open communication, build skills in parents and youth, empower healthy self-esteem, and help youth have a brighter future,” said a Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships supporter, sharing that there are many benefits to the program.

According to the Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships web site, the program has “made a difference in thousands of families in all 50 states and in over 25 countries.” The program recognizes that youth need skills to help them resist peer pressure that can lead to risky and potentially unhealthy behaviors.

“Research shows that protective parenting improves family relationships and decreases the level of family conflict, contributing to lower levels of substance use,” reads the web site.

Some of the goals of the free program include parents and youth building their skills, helping to reduce the risk of serious problems for youth and their families, building stronger families, helping to create stronger and safer communities, guiding youth to a brighter future, providing tools for dealing with life issues like peer pressure and decision making, and opening positive communication between caregivers and youth.

There will be a free family dinner before each session, weekly prizes, and other fun incentives. Free childcare will be provided for participants that also have children under the age of 10 during sessions. The sessions are scheduled for Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships, 3001 Fairway Dr., Altoona. Another session of this program will run from April 23 to June 4. For more information, please call 814-381-0921.

Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships offers a variety of services related to substance abuse, working with all sectors of communities to develop prevention, intervention, early engagement, and recovery supports including treatment services that support healthy communities.

Adeena Harbst can be reached at aharbst@thedailyherald.net.

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