Strong Extended Families

By Renee Podunovich, Project Coordinator/Trainer, DARE to Be You Program

Strong Extended Families

The Strong Extended Families program is a four-week series of workshops designed to help relative caregivers and their youth acknowledge, understand and cope with their unique challenges, especially issues related to substance abuse in the family.

Strong Extended Families was initially funded by a venture grant from Colorado State University Extension to meet the need of the growing number of grandparents who find they are raising grandchildren, often as a result of substance abuse issues (specifically methamphetamine). It is an extension of the model DARE to be You skills building program that focuses on enhancing positive youth development by working with the entire family. Dare to be You, informed by social learning theory and ecological systems models, builds skills in four main domains: Self-Efficacy, Self-Responsibility, Communication and Decision Making.

The Strong Extended Family curriculum is a set of two manuals, one for caregivers and one for youth. Four weekly session agendas, plus activity details are provided. Families build skills in key areas and participate together in a fun and interactive way. This program can be used in combination with other support program materials. The four weekly sessions offer families:

  • a chance to build on their strengths
  • support for caregivers and youth
  • information on state resources
  • skills building through fun and interactive games and activities
  • education about addiction and coping skills

To find out more information about this curriculum, visit the DARE to be You website: