What is G.R.E.A.T. Families?
G.R.E.A.T. Families is a research-based, family-strengthening program consisting of a six-session family curriculum and a family/community resource guide. By linking a practical curriculum to a process of engaging local family assistance resources, G.R.E.A.T. Families provides G.R.E.A.T. instructors with the basic tools needed to work effectively with families and with other family-serving organizations in their community.
To strengthen communities by strengthening families through engaging parents and youth in cooperative lessons. The lessons are designed to promote positive family relationships by:
- Providing tools for good parenting practices
- Improving communication skills
- Improving a family’s quality time together
- Identifying the importance of clear and consistent rules, limits, and discipline
- Identifying the importance of personal character and being a role model for positive behavior change
- Establishing a family safety plan to help family members stay safe while interacting with electronic media
Promoting positive family relationships plays an important role in a healthy family. When children have family support, their needs for family/parental relationships and connection are fulfilled. This increases the chances that the family will be free of crime, violence, drugs, and gang affiliation.
The families component is a six-session curriculum designed to complement the middle school curriculum and is targeted toward parents/guardians and children aged 10 to 14. The curriculum uses group interaction, activities, and skills practice. Each session is approximately two hours in length and is facilitated under the guidance of a G.R.E.A.T. instructor specially trained as a lead facilitator. The instructor works closely with one or two cofacilitators to guide as many as 10 families (approximately 30 family members) through a variety of activities and discussion. The sponsoring agency may offer child care for younger children of participating families.
The session topics are listed below.
Session 1: We Are G.R.E.A.T. Families
Session 2: Improving Family Relationships
Session 3: G.R.E.A.T. Communication
Session 4: Rules, Limits, and Discipline
Session 5: Reducing Bullying by Developing Personal Character
Session 6: Families in the Electronic Age
The Family Resource Guide
The feature that distinguishes G.R.E.A.T. Families from most other family-strengthening interventions is its Family Resource Guide. As a “universal” program open to all families, G.R.E.A.T. Families should be viewed as a positive first step for participating families. The curriculum component covers life skills that can benefit any family. Some families, however, may need or want to participate in additional programs or activities designed to maintain or continue building a healthy family environment. Meeting the ongoing needs of families poses many challenges for G.R.E.A.T. instructors and their agencies, which are committed to supporting positive family development in their communities. The resource guide serves to help the G.R.E.A.T. instructors better meet the needs of the families enrolled in the program and provides valuable information in response to questions, such as those listed below.
- What alternative programs are available in the community to strengthen families?
- Are there other resources—whether written, video-based, or on the Internet—that can be trusted to provide useful information or insight into ways to foster healthy family development?
G.R.E.A.T. Families provides yet another enhancement to the community policing efforts of G.R.E.A.T. agencies. By working more closely with families to promote safe and healthy communities, G.R.E.A.T. is taking a significant step in its efforts to help our nation's youth lead healthy, violence-free lives.
If you are an active G.R.E.A.T. instructor and are interested in becoming certified to facilitate G.R.E.A.T. Families, please click on the following links to view the G.R.E.A.T. Families Training schedule and application.