OCEANSIDE — The first session of the six-week Guiding Good Choices parenting program met at Libby Lake Community Center on June 11 and has already drawn a group of interested parents.Instruction is given in separate English and Spanish classes, which can each accommodate up to 15 participants.
Guiding Good Choices gives parents language and practices to guide their children through adolescence with a focus on drug use prevention. The program is specifically geared for parents of youth ages 9 to 14. Each session builds on knowledge gained in the previous session.
“It seeks to strengthen and clarify family expectations for behavior, enhance the conditions that promote bonding within the family, and teach skills that allow children to resist drug use successfully,” Yesenia Diaz, REACH project coordinator, said. “It develops healthy habits at home.”
Weekly sessions focus on family drug use prevention, developing clear standards, involving youth in family decision making, expressing anger constructively, reinforcing family bonds, and preventing underage drinking. “Parents who sign up are usually the parents who try to be involved in classes, or whom are starting to get involved,” Diaz said. “What keeps them motivated is the discussion level in the class, the weekly assignments, and the graduating recognition if they complete the program. It’s useful education on what’s going on locally and nationwide.”
An added incentive for parents is that they are rewarded with a $10 Wal-Mart gift certificate for each class they attend. If they attend four or more classes they collect a $40 to $50 gift certificate the final day of class.
The summer parenting class is funded by a Cal-GRIP state grant.
What is taught to parents in the Guiding Good Choices program complements instruction teens receive at summer REACH programs held at Libby Lake Community Center and Joe Balderrama Recreation Center.
Teens ages 12 to 18 can drop in either REACH program from 1 p.m to 5:30 p.m. daily. The program provides structure and a friendly atmosphere. Summer activities include field trips, computer access and onsite games. Program benefits include mentorship, access to health services and daily snacks.
Guiding Good Choices parenting classes meets Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Libby Lake Community Center, 4700 N. River Road.