Workshop focuses on strengthening families

ANTRIM — A workshop series to help families learn communication and decision-making skills, in order to prevent risky behavior in youths, focuses on building family relationships.

Workshop facilitator Carol Lunan said in an interview Tuesday that research shows that in the first couple years of high school there is a peak in a teen’s risky behavior. She said that good communication and involvement within a family is important to preventing this risky behavior, but she said it’s not all about prevention.

“It’s about building communication in family,” Lunan said.

The workshop series is a highly researched curriculum, Lunan said, called Guiding Good Choices, and is offered by the Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center in Antrim.

The five-day, two-hour long workshop incorporates both parent and child in discussions. Lunan talks with the parents about what is within their control and what is not. “I think it empowers people,” Lunan said. “This is a big [topic] about relationship and having family meetings to discuss what each person wants.”

The workshop series focuses on families with children ages 9 to 14, an age range that has not quite hit the high school years. Lunan said it is much easier to set up a foundation with children before they are engaged in the behavior.

The first two sessions of the workshop are for the parents and Lunan; the third session includes the children; and the last two are for parents and Lunan only. Although the workshop features more time with her and the parents, Lunan said a big part of the program is the child’s decision-making. “[The program] talks about drugs and alcohol, but it’s also about decision-making and empowering them to make their own choices.”

When the children are part of the workshops, Lunan said the parents and children learn strategies to say no to drinking and doing drugs, while still keeping their friends, and finding something else to do.

Guiding Good Choices will be held at the Great Brook School on 16 School St. in Antrim. The workshop series begins Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. The workshop will continue on Tuesdays, Feb. 4, 11 and 18, and then pause for a week due to school vacation. The final workshop session will be held March 4.

For more information or to register for the workshop, interested families can contact the Grapevine at 588-2620. If the $15 registration fee is a hardship, families can ask about financial assistance. The Grapevine serves the Hillsborough County with a focus on Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Hancock and surrounding towns.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or

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