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Gill-Montague/ Franklin County Bilingual Nurturing Family Program

posted Dec 15, 2011, 7:51 AM by Corey Haynes
Gill-Montague/ Franklin County Bilingual Nurturing Family Program – October 2011 – January 2012, Hillcrest Building, Montague Elementary School.

The mission of the Gill Montague/ Franklin County Nurturing Families Program is to build protective factors for local parents and children through opportunities to learn effective parenting strategies based on self-nurture, respect and social connection.

Nurturing is the ability to care for and foster growth in oneself and others. The Nurturing Program philosophy acknowledges that we all need to be nurtured, nurturing can be learned, and that it is important to work with the whole family. Nurturing Parenting is a proven program for parents and their children that is internationally recognized for enhancing self-worth, empathy, discipline and empowerment through having fun and growing closer as a family. 

The Gill Montague/ Franklin County Family Nurturing Program is family-centered. It includes four age-appropriate groups for children: infants - 2.9 years; a group for toddlers (2-3 year olds); younger school-aged children (4-8 years) and older children (ages 9-14/adolescent years). There are 15 families registered, with 19 adults and 31 children. Partners in providing the funding and facilitation for the program include the MA Department of Children and Families (Greenfield/ Holyoke Area Office and Community Outreach); Community Action of Franklin & Hampshire Counties; the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership; the Gill-Montague Regional School District and Montague Catholic Social Ministries. Supplemental funding for transportation, refreshments and curriculum materials has been provided by grants from the Communities That Care Coalition/ Parent Workgroup and the MA Women’s Home Missionary Union.

Goals include preventing family violence, anti-social behavior and all forms of abuse by building respectful, empathetic parent-child relationships. Decreasing risk factors associated with intergenerational legacies of inadequate income, education, social connection, parenting, family bonding and other trauma - including disconnectedness from culture of origin and/or school – is the focus. Negative outcomes of isolation such as teen pregnancy, addiction abusive relationships to self and others are ameliorated through building nurturing connections.

Strength-based, the Nurturing Program offers a web of supportive connections to build protective factors (social connections, empathetic family relationships - including self-care, meeting concrete basic needs and knowledge of child development). The program includes a weekly family dinner and topical workshops for parents and their children with time for playing and celebrating together.

A unique component of the G-M/FC Nurturing Families Program is the bilingual break-out group for Spanish-speaking parents. Recognizing the need for parent support in the immigrant community, the Community Action Family Center joined with the G-M/FC Nurturing Families Program to merge efforts and bring together families of different ethnicities. Through learning together new bridges are being built in the community.