Family & Intercultural Resource Center offers new age 5-12 parenting course | SummitDaily.com

Family & Intercultural Resource Center offers new age 5-12 parenting course

A brand-new parenting program is coming to Summit, with the hope of further strengthening the local family unit.

The Family & Intercultural Resource Center, better known as FIRC, presents the Nurturing Parenting class beginning the second week of March for families with children ages 5-12. The focus of the best practice-based curriculum is developing homes that give kids the best start to their lives by teaching principles like empathy, discipline and appropriate ways of expressing emotions.

The 10-week course, which teaches parents and children separately out of FIRC's Silverthorne office, has distinct English and Spanish nights to address cultural nuances and better suit specific needs. Dinner is provided at each Wednesday or Thursday evening meet-up, so families can still enjoy a meal together after work and school, before their respective hour-and-a-half sessions.

"The cool thing is parents get taught in the adult format while kids receive the kids' format, with activities that are developmentally appropriate," said FIRC program manager Matt Madsen. "There are opportunities where parents and kids will have parts together and parts that are separate, and the two instructors will flip back and forth between them to provide both groups a better learning experience."

FIRC last offered a six-week parent coaching course for families with kids, called Active Parenting, about a year ago, but after conversation with the county Youth & Family Services, determined that a longer, evidence-based program better fit both organizations' missions. The county agency is aiming to teach the Nurturing Parenting class for the adolescent 13-17 age group this upcoming fall, and FIRC is also currently in the planning stages of the newborn to pre-K demographic in the near future.

In the late fall, FIRC hosted a program instructor from Colorado Springs for a three-day training with eight local community members on how to deliver the approximately 20-lesson course, where more than one is covered in each weekly session. While kids might be involved in activities like coloring or a particular game used to demonstrate a new skill, parents are next door participating in role playing, working from a workbook and trying out fresh communication techniques.

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"More and more we're seeing kids entering middle school as a much more important transition than it used to be, because kids are exposed to a lot more than they used to be," said Anita Overmyer, FIRC's development director. "So we know helping kids make healthy choices through sometimes difficult conversations and good communication systems from ages 5-12 is more important than ever as they enter those teens years. Overall I think this is a really creative resource for parents."

Each night — Wednesday for English-speakers and Thursday for Spanish-speakers — has space for 10 families. Spots are still available, though each is filling up quickly. There's a $10 fee for the entirety of the course, covering the cost of the class workbook that families get to keep, and scholarships are available through FIRC for those who meet income qualifications.

"As the FIRC, we think there's always a need to be able to provide services in the community so families can do the best job raising their kids," said Madsen. "We firmly believe strong families make for strong community, so we want to provide as many resources as we can. And we never turn someone away because of a financial issue."

Until all slots are full, families can register up until the day of the first classes on March 8 and 9. Childcare is also available, and dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. each night with class going from 6-7:30 p.m. at 251 W. 4th St. in Silverthorne. The course takes a break for the school district's spring break on April 19 and 20, and runs through May 17 and 18.

"The main focus in the history of FIRC has been early childhood, but after those first five years parents need that extra guidance and support, too," said Overmyer. "Ultimately we want children to succeed as adults, and, with many families without their extended families in our community because they've moved from different places and that kind of thing, these curriculums are important, so we're excited to offer it."

To register for the English version of the Nurturing Parenting course, please contact Matt Madsen at matthewm@summitfirc.org or 970-455-0236 or for the Spanish edition, Natalia Ruiz at nataliar@summitfirc.org or 970-455-0228.