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Extension program builds stronger families, communities

NMSU professor instructing child

Creating fun family memories is just the icing on the cake for those taking part in NMSU's Strengthening Families Initiative (SFI). Offered by the Cooperative Extension Service, SFI is on a mission to promote healthier families and communities by strengthening parent-child and couple relationships, building self-sufficiency, and encouraging healthy behaviors.

For more than a dozen years, SFI has been offering, free of charge, various programs and classes in schools, churches and community centers. Participants learn practical skills that help them strengthen the family unit. There are intensive parenting and family education programs available through SFI. Each 12-week class meets once a week for two and one-half hours.

Topics include parents as leaders and models, dealing with change, communication, family dynamics, signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, commitment, conflict resolution and much more.

While the adults are learning how to be more effective parents, the children can take part in a program designed just for them. It provides all of the necessary materials, and evaluation in English and Spanish.

SFI encourages families--no matter what the makeup of the family--to participate. The program serves married, single and divorced parents; grandparents raising grandchildren; engaged couples; cohabitating parents and couples thinking of marriage and family, just to name a few.

For more information on SFI and all it offers, including this summer's Family Wellness classes, contact Program Manager Lisa Shields at lshields@nmsu.edu.