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Youth Drug Education Programs Support Addiction Recovery in Grand Island
Programs in Grand Island are assisting children of parents with substance use disorders.
The CNCAA developed the program in the late 1990s over concerns that there were limited drug prevention resources for children.
Kids Power's 8-week program helps kids ages seven to 11. According to CNCAA's Executive Director Connie Holmes, children often say they feel alone or confused about their parent's substance use. Sometimes they feel they are to blame for it.
The program gives kids a safe place to bond with other children going through the same things and share their feelings.
"The parent's perspective would be 'let's help my kids learn so this doesn't happen to them,'" Holmes said. "We're breaking that cycle of addiction. The program gives them hope."
Programs assistant at Kids Power Louise Dexter explained that Kids Power uses Jerry Moe's '7 Cs.' They help children remember that they are not responsible for their parent's addiction and can take better self-care steps.
Moe, who serves as the national director of Children's Programs at the Betty Ford Center, said: "Programs, like the Central Nebraska Council, really use [the '7 Cs'] as a focal point in terms of a compass that children can always come back to when they think about what's going on in their family."
Dexter and Holmes have seen kids open up through activities, such as composing letters to their parent's substance use or completing art projects. These activities provide an outlet for kids to express their emotions.
When kids complete program, they are joined by their parents at a family celebration, which can be a powerful bonding moment."The parents many times say, 'I wish we had that when I was a kid,'" Dexter said.
Moe supports the family celebrations at Kids Power. "The essence of it is to come together and realize that everybody in the family can heal," he said. "Everybody in the family can be part of the solution."