Serve Those Who Serve Us by Empowering Families and Communities
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The Empowering Youth and Families Program continues to make a positive impact on the Onslow County community and its families. Powerful Families, Powerful Communities took place on September 21, 2021. During this session, the youth chatted with facilitators about how much they’ve changed since middle school. The participating youth got to know each other better by playing a candy game that had them share some of their favorite things to eat and do.
We got a chance to get feedback from the participating youth about their first session and were pleased to hear they thoroughly enjoyed the time with facilitators, Mr. John, and Miss Sophia. Not only were we able to hold a session with just the youth but we also held a separate session for the parents and caregivers.
Parents discussed the things about their youth that brought them joy and the things that made them frustrated. Facilitators, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Armando spoke on how important positive communication is between parents and their children. By having the parents read a ‘Retelling the Story’ account, Mr. Lee and Mr. Armando showed how a positive attitude with youth can change the whole trajectory of their middle school and day-to-day experience. Although the participating parents shared some tough times they had experienced with their youth, the parents were able to laugh about them and gain a new outlook on how to turn a negative experience into a positive one. The goals of the EYFP program are to reduce youth substance use in rural North Carolina; to improve parenting skills of caregivers to assist youth in making healthy choices; to improve family relationships, and to empower families to lead community change to leverage support for healthier lifestyles within those communities. Our previous EYFP cohort chose to focus on leading community change for healthier lifestyles by planning our recent EYFP community event: Serve Those Who Served Us.
Our Serve Those Who Served Us community event took place on Saturday, September 18, 2021, from 12:30–3:30 p.m. at Onslow Community Outreach. A free lunch was served to attendees at 12:30 p.m. and presentations began at 1 p.m. The EYFP youth led a fun brain science activity and information was provided by various Onslow County agencies. We had assistance, in the form of clothing and hygiene supplies that were donated by the Onslow County Community, available for local homeless populations experiencing addiction.
The event had over 50 attendees and we were able to promote it through N.C. Cooperative Extension of Onslow County’s social media outlets, their website, local Onslow County radio shows, and news stations. This event not only provided resources for the homeless population in Onslow County, but it also helped bring the families from our last EYFP cohort back together. The Empowering Youth and Families Program has made a positive impact on the Onslow County community and families, and we plan to continue.