Mental Wellness Alliance educates parents, children
Guiding Good Choices sessions
5:30 p.m.-8 pm.
Feb. 27 – March 27
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1505 W. White Pine Canyon Road
March 2- 30
Summit County Library at Richin’s Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd
May 20 – June 24 (excluding May 27)
Christian Center of Park City, 1283 Deer Valley Drive
For information, visit summitcountyhealth.org
The Park City Interfaith Council’s Concerts with a Purpose, featuring the Park City Community Choir and the Esperanza Orchestra, have a secondary purpose in addition to their primary mission of bringing people of different faiths and backgrounds together.
The performances will introduce audiences to Communities That Care, the education and prevention coalition of Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance, said Mary Christa Smith.
Smith, who is the Communities That Care coordinator, said the coalition includes professionals, nonprofits, school districts, local government agencies and local residents who collaborate on community-wide work that supports the health and well-being of Summit County children.
“This concert with the Interfaith Council is designed to bring people together in this shared space to celebrate what unites us,” Smith said. “That’s what I see with the Mental Wellness Alliance and Communities That Care. The alliance and program gives us space to put that care into meaningful action. It’s the love for one another that unites us.”
One of Communities That Care programs is Guiding Good Choices, a five-week, evidence-based program for parents of children ages 9-14 that is proven to prevent substance abuse and depression in children, Smith said.
“The main thing it does is provide resources, education, skill development and tools for parents to help their kids remain substance free,” she said. “Studies have shown that Guiding Good Choices has been proven to reduce substance use in communities up to 35 percent and depression up to 28 percent.”
The program lists three priorities, according to Smith.
• Perceived risk of substance use, which addresses how kids and some parents don’t see the use of certain types of substances as a risk
• Parental attitudes that allow their children to use certain substances with their permission
Guiding Good Choices asks families to set clear behavior standards, and communicate these standards with their children, Smith said.
“We’re not here to tell what the expectations should be, because we leave that up to the individual families,” she said. “What we do want is for parents to have the very best scientific information so they can make informed decisions within their family. And we do know children who grew up in families with clear expectations are more likely to follow them.”
The program also teaches children how to say no to peer pressure in ways that won’t offend their friends, Smith said.
“Kids will come to the sessions where they can learn what to say and practice their responses that will get themselves safely out of situations,” she said.
Guiding Good Choices sessions are helmed by a number of facilitators in Summit County, including counselors at the Christian Center of Park City and Holy Cross Ministries, according to Smith.
“We are also working on a Spanish and English session at Park City Day School, and we’ll continued to roll those in an ongoing basis,” she said. “Prevention at its core is about caring about each other, and it’s about positive connections with positive people.”
For information, visit summitcountyhealth.org.
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