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Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities

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Four authors contributed to the development of the Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities Program: A Violence Prevention Parent Training Program in 1994, with updates to the program appearing in 1996 and 2005. Now, in 2011, the program has been restructured, re-formatted, and specific topics enhanced. Given the many changes and our commitment to presenting information from a "strengthening perspective" as opposed to a "deficit model", the program has also been renamed: Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities: A Parent Program Promoting Peace.
The Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities Program is a strength-based prevention-intervention program for parents with children between 3 and 18 years of age. The curriculum is structured into an Orientation Session and twelve weekly 3-hour sessions and promotes parent and child self-esteem, self-discipline, and social competency skills. Facilitators are required to participate in an intensive Five-Day Facilitator Training Workshop (English Language or Spanish Language).
The program goal is to reduce drug/alcohol use, teen suicide, juvenile delinquency, gang involvement, child abuse and domestic violence. Short term objectives are to increase parent sense of competence, positive family/parent/child interactions, positive parent/child relationships, child self-esteem and self-discipline, child social competency skills and increased parental involvement in community activities. Parent training classes have been held at a variety of locations: churches, schools, community agencies and other locations. The program consists of twelve 3-hour sessions taught in consecutive weeks. The curriculum includes five major components: Cultural/Spiritual Focus; Rites of Passage; Positive Discipline; Enhancing Relationships; and Community Involvement. Parent materials are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, English UK, Russian, and Somali. Facilitator manuals are available in English and Spanish.
A pre- post test design has been used to evaluate over 3000 parents. Results show significant improvements in parent sense of competence, family/parent/child interactions, and child competence and behavior. Participation in the program had a direct impact on increasing parent involvement in the areas of "Community Activities", "Political Issues" and "School Involvement". Reports indicate that the program helps with child rearing challenges, encourages family bonding, promotes pride in cultural heritage, supports community bonding and reduces life-threatening risks for children.
Information is presented within a "cultural framework" to promote parent and child self-esteem, self-discipline and social competence. The program utilizes a number of different teaching strategies, including a facilitative-discussion model to raise parent level of consciousness by encouraging parent discussion. Information is presented in five component topic areas: Cultural-Spiritual, Enhancing Relationships, Positive Discipline, Ten Rites of Passage, and Community Involvement.