Choices for Change

Choices for Change is a prevention program dedicated to empowering children and adults to take care of themselves, build healthy relationships, and make positive choices in their lives.
 An emphasis is placed on developing the ability to:
Identify and express feelings
• Listen actively
• Communicate in a supportive way
• Practice problem-solving strategies
• Strengthen self awareness & self esteem
• Establish healthy boundaries and make good choices

Based on the model of “Kids Are Special,” Choices for Change was originally developed to provide help and information to families impacted by drug or alcohol dependence. Presently, it also assists non-impacted families struggling to achieve healthier, happier settings for their children in families where relationships have broken down due to the stresses of modern day life.

There are two components to the Choices for Change program:

Family Groups. These ten-week education and support groups focus on educating children between ages 5-17 and their parents in various communication skills. Children are grouped by age, and parents meet together. Weekly topics include:
• Feelings    
• Listening
• Problem solving
• Co-dependency
• Who’s at risk for chemical dependency
• Anger management

School Groups. Choices for Change works with small groups of elementary school children, grades K-6. These children meet with facilitators once a week for eight weeks and cover topics similar to those in the Family Groups, with an emphasis on:
• Productive communication
• Anger management
• Problem solving skills
• Drug and alcohol education (how to make choices when your peers are pressuring you.)
School Groups are held on the school campus during the school day at no extra cost to the parents.

Choices for Change is fortunate to have a staff of dedicated paraprofessionals who are committed to helping children and adults work toward positive change. Facilitators are trained by experienced staff members and participate in ongoing education to continually expand their professional skills. Group Topics include:

• Communication Skills
• Chemical Dependency: Its Patterns and Impact
• Defenses and Healthy Boundaries
• Constructive Use of Anger
• Co-Dependency
• Problem Solving
• Who’s At Risk for Chemical Dependency
• Family Roles & Healthy Frameworks for Living
• Self-Esteem

“When I first walked into Choices for Change, I was around 10. I had a smile on my face and whenever I was asked how I was doing, my reply was ‘fine’. I was not fine. I did not know how to communicate with my family. Both my parents were recovering from chemical dependency and I had absolutely no idea of how to deal with it. As I progressed, I learned that it is okay not to be fine all the time. It’s okay to be angry or to cry. I finally learned to love myself.”
-Daughter, Age 14

“I had been through classes that advised me how to deal with life as a single parents. Twelve step meetings helped me deal with recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. And, I had private counseling to help my 9-year old son and 7-year old daughter deal with their parents’ divorce. Last fall I signed up to participate in Choices for Change. It was the best. It was the only thing that integrated all of the stuff we were talking about in the other programs. It got all three of us in the same place and getting the same information. It put my kids and me on the same page.”