Strengthening Families workshop teaches resilience

BALDWIN — Parents and grandparents gathered for a session of fun educational activities during the first of a series of Strengthening Families workshops on Monday, Aug. 27 in Baldwin.

The workshops are put on by Great Start Parent Coalition and sponsored by the Lake County Children's Trust Fund.

Faith Thomas-Jones, Great Start parent liaison, works with participants to offer them support and educational tools to build stronger families and help their young children to succeed.

"The theme of our first workshop is building resilience in families," she said. "A couple months ago I attended a training in Petoskey on strengthening families. I received a lot of good information and hands-on activities to try with parents. If families are strong, there will less likely be separation, abuse or neglect. Parents are the child's no. 1 teacher, and they need to know they are not alone.

"This is a good place for parents to network and to meet families with children around the same age. I want parents to know we are here and they should take advantage of these programs."

She demonstrated the concept of resilience to the group by stretching out a rubber band and letting it bounce back to its original form.

In one activity, psycho-geometry was used to analyze parents' strengths and personalities through shape preferences. Parents were asked which of the following shapes represented them best as a family — a circle, square, rectangle or squiggly line.

Diamond Burrell chose the squiggly line.

"We are not a straight line," she said."It takes obstacles to make us strong. No day is the same. There are low points and high points. We have to make it through."

Terri Burrell chose the circle.

"The circle symbolizes the family being united — joined as one," she said.

Thomas-Jones read the psycho-geometric definition of each shape. The square traits represents hard work and detail oriented; the rectangle, mobile, leadership, explorer, risk taker and energy; the circle, interest in harmony, nurturer and peacemaker; and the squiggly line, innovation, uniqueness, multi-tasker and disorganized.

The group also mapped out resilience traits such as managing stress.

The series will continue from 6 to 8 p.m. every other Monday through October at the Pere Marquette Room at Pompeii's in Baldwin. Parents who are interested in attending future programs can contact (817) 600-8550.