Strengthening Families Program Holds First-ever Graduation

17 Families Celebrate The Effort They Put in to Improve

people are sitting at tables in a room where festive lights on strung along the ceiling

Seventeen families from Laurens County (SC) graduated from the Strengthening Families program on December 13. The first-ever graduation from Thornwell’s new program was held at the Marshall Activities Center at Thornwell.

“You should be proud that you have made your family a priority and worked on them and to make them as strong as they can be,” the Rev. Elliot Smith, president of Thornwell, told the families during the event.

What the Families Learned

The families visited Thornwell once a week for 14 weeks to work on their family relationships. After eating dinner together, the parents met with group leaders from Thornwell and counselors from Gateway Counseling Center to learn parenting skills and strategies. The children met with different group leaders to learn about appropriate behavior.

The nationally and internationally recognized program, funded by the Children’s Trust, has been proven to:

  • Improve family relationships
  • Reduce problem behaviors
  • Improve social skills
  • Improve school performance

And it’s worked for these 17 families too.

“I’ve learned so much and now have started building a real relationship with my daughter,” one mother said. “I learned to take a deep breath, not jump to conclusions.”

“It helped me to understand that nobody is perfect, to stay calm, take everything step by step,” said another parent. “And I learned H.A.L.T. which means, ‘Are they hungry, angry, lonely or tired?’”

The Ceremony

The families once again ate dinner together and received prizes during the graduation ceremony. Heritage Fellowship and First Baptist Church in Clinton, SC both provided meals for the families during the 14-week program.

The first-ever Strengthening Families program graduation showcased families willing to put in the effort to make their relationships better. To learn about how your family—or a family you know—may be eligible to participate, visit the Strengthening Families page.

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