If you live in Southern Monmouth County and you have children in 3rd and/or 4th grade, there is a free program for you starting very soon, but you must sign up TODAY!You have until TODAY, March 5th to sign up your family for a special program brought to you by Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Samaritan Center at the Jersey Shore. SPACE IS LIMITED AND THIS IS FIRST-COME, FIRST SERVE. It takes place at St. Uriel's church in Sea Girt on Thursday evenings, starting March 7th, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. and there are only a few spots left for this wonderful program. It includes a free family dinner from a local restaurant, group discussions for the adults on how to raise a child in this age group and all of the challenges you face, and a group discussion for the 3rd and 4th graders with counselors to help them find better ways to navigate school, peer pressure, and their parents, and how to make better choices as they approach middle school and becoming a teenager.

This is a 14-week, once a week program for Monmouth County parents, grandparents, guardians and their 3rd and 4th graders.

There will be gifts and prizes awarded to families with regular attendance, and a graduation ceremony upon completion. There is even free child care for younger siblings, and they get to take part in the dinner aspect as well. This program has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a model parenting program. Parents will learn how to improve communication skills, develop effective conflict resolution techniques, set goals, and establish family meetings. Research shows the more often families eat together, and give each other their undivided attention, the less likely children are to get involved with drugs, alcohol, tobacco and/or other risky behaviors. To register for this program, or to find out when the next seminar in your area will be offered, contact Alyson Zilai: azilai@barnabashealth.org or call her at 732-942-5753. On a personal note, I brought my son to this seminar and it helped our family tremendously. I highly recommend taking advantage of this free, effective program!