The Strong African-American Families project, launched in south Georgia in 2008 by the University of Georgia Center for Family Research and UGA Extension, has strengthened families and helped promote positive health outcomes, said center director Gene Brody.
“Positive parenting not only has a protective effect on risky behaviors, but it also appears to be promoting health among a population that is at risk for diabetes, cancer and stroke,” Brody said at the project’s program impact meeting April 28 in Tifton.
The Strong African-American Families, or SAAF, project is a joint partnership between the Center for Family Research and UGA Extension. It was launched five years ago in eight rural Georgia counties with a $3.4 million grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Nearly 500 families from Coffee, Colquitt, Crisp, Mitchell, Sumter, Turner, Tift and Ware counties were recruited to participate in the project. The seven-week, family-centered intervention program has proven to enhance family relationships, Brody said, and helped prevent substance abuse among African-American adolescents.
On Monday, three mothers who participated in the program with their children addressed project leaders and organizers. All of them credited their participation in the project with strengthening their families.
“Everything I learned (in the SAAF project) is going to take us further into our future,” said Sabrina Morris, a Tifton resident and single mother who participated in the program with her son.
Project participant Kimberly McKennon credited the program with improving her relationship with her young daughter. “We communicate better,” she said. “Before, we couldn’t talk. Now, we talk about everything.”
Of the almost 500 families recruited, more than 300 youths, ages 11-13, participated in the program.
After enrolling in the project, each participating family member was asked to fill out a pre-test survey. After completing the survey, families were randomly assigned to receive SAAF immediately or wait one year before receiving SAAF.
Approximately two months after the program group received SAAF, all families were asked to complete a post-test survey.
Source: The Red & Black | UGA News Service