Pubdate: Thu, 16 Mar 2006
Source: Bloor West Villager (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Bloor West Villager
Author: Lisa Rainford
Bookmark: (Youth)


Parents may not be able to stop their kids from taking drugs.

However, when it comes to whether or not they can influence their 
children's choices, the answer is yes.

That's the philosophy of the Australian-based Focus on the Family, an 
organization dedicated to strengthening families.

Five years ago, it developed a program coined Drugproofing Your Kids 
in response to the increasing drug problem among young people and the 
frustrated attempts by parents to steer their children away from 
substance abuse.

The program has since been adapted for use in Canada, as well as New 
Zealand, the United States, France, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The St. Clair-Dufferin Ecumenical Council is bringing the program to 
the city's west end. Sessions begin March 22 at George Harvey 
Collegiate Institute, between Rogers Road and Eglinton Avenue.

"We're always on the lookout for practical ways we can serve the 
community in a meaningful and helpful way," said Rev. John Duyck of 
the New Hope Community Church (located at Dufferin Street and Rogers 
Road). "We thought 'hey, here's something we can provide'."

Duyck said he was intrigued when he read about the program and 
decided to look into bringing it to his community. Drugproof Your 
Kids is sponsored by seven different churches, he said.

The six-week course for parents and guardians is facilitated by Linda 
and Wayne Palmer, who are registered with the Ontario College of 
Social Workers.

The Palmers, who are affiliated with Focus on the Family, will 
provide an overview of just how bad the drug problem among youth is 
and provide steps for change by discussing what parents can give 
their children.

The course will tackle why kids take drugs, Linda Palmer said, and 
key factors in alcohol and drug misuse.

"We'll talk about how to educate kids to make better choices, 
strategies for parents and an action plan," she said.

Other topics will include understanding the facts, what influences 
harmful drug use and prevention tools for parents, learning to 
intervene and how to get help.

For parents whose children are experimenting with drugs, they find 
out they're not alone.

"They form a support group, which is one of the goals," Palmer said.

The cost of the six-week program, which starts Wednesday, March 22 
from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is $20. This includes the cost of 
materials and instruction.

Participants will receive a 100-page book with helpful notes, 
exercises and reference materials. To register, or for more 
information, call 416-656-1256 or 416-656-1144.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman