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Are you a parent or caregiver of a fifth or sixth grader? Would you like to learn some additional skills to help your child succeed and make your strong family stronger? If so, then register for the free Strengthening Families program this winter.

The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth is a seven-week program designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth ages 10-14 years. It has been scientifically tested and the results have shown that children who have completed the program are less likely to become involved in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse.

Parents and children begin each Strengthening Families session with a shared meal followed by break-out sessions for adults and youth. During the last hour, the families reunite to increase family bonding, positive communication skills and learn to solve problems together.

Two sessions will be held in Carbondale and Moosic. The Carbondale sessions will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. on Wednesdays, the program began on Feb. 5 at the Carbondale Area Elementary School.

The Moosic session will run on Mondays from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Riverside Elementary East School, starting Feb. 24.

Youth will benefit from attending the sessions by learning to: prepare for their teen years, communicate with their parents, deal with stress and peer pressure, and avoid alcohol and drug problems. Parents and caregivers can enhance their parenting skills by: learning to set limits and show love, making house rules, encouraging good behavior, protecting their children from substance abuse and learning how to handle stress.

The free program includes dinner for the family, prizes for attendance and free child care for younger family members.

For more information or to register for this family-oriented program, call Karen Thomas at Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County at 570-963-6842. Spots are limited.