Melanie Williams, a mother of four and an active PTSA volunteer in Orlando, wants to do everything she can to protect her children and others in the community from the devastating consequences associated with drug abuse and addiction.
“Drug prevention is so important because drug abuse is so silently dangerous,” said Williams. “It’s easy for kids to get involved with drugs and it’s so damaging to the body; it destroys lives.”
Williams, a mother of four boys ages 10, 13, 15 and 16, became involved with Informed Families after being invited by a school guidance counselor to attend an Informed Families Parent Peer Group Leader training in Orange County last November.
“The material at the training was mind boggling,” said Melanie. “I learned so much. I’m an involved parent with kids in three different schools. And yet some of the stuff from the training, I really had no clue about. I asked my 16-year-old son, ‘do you know about this?’ He said, ‘yes.’ Attending the training was truly transformative for me. I realized that I need to pay more attention to what my children are learning and what they are exposed to.”
The Informed Families Parent Peer Group program educates and connects parents for the purposes of empowering them to take preventive action in their homes and communities. The ultimate goal: helping their kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free. Parents learn about brain development, media literacy, social norms and how to form parent peer groups. Parent Peer Groups are groups of parents whose children are friends who work together to build a safety net for their children by setting common guidelines and monitoring behavior.
To date, Williams has trained 129 parents through the Parent Peer Group program and plans to continue to train more parents at local schools and faith based organizations in her community. Many of the parents trained by Williams expressed their sincere gratitude to her for sharing this important information. Of course, some parents who weren’t aware of many of the issues discussed felt overwhelmed, but Melanie encouraged them to stay present and active.
“I want parents to understand that just because your child is in middle school or even high school, you cannot stop being involved,” said Melanie. “It’s important to get to know your child’s friends and their parents - and to stay involved in the school. Informed Families is such a great resource. They make it so easy because everything is right there.”
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