Strengthening Families Program and Coordinator
The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is funded by Children’s Trust of South Carolina and provides a unique opportunity for entire families to grow and learn together in a safe environment. The program introduces new ideas on communication, discipline and strengthening family bonds and empowers families to figure out what works for them. Communities In Schools offers SFP in their existing school sites on a rotating basis. Enrolled families are invited to come once per week for 14 weeks to learn new skills and spend quality time together. On program nights, the participants share a meal and then parents and children split into their respective groups for instruction and discussion. After group time, parents and children reunite for family engagement activities that reinforce the skills they’ve learned. After 14 weeks, the families are rewarded for their hard work with a graduation celebration. The program is free and also offers incentives like gas cards, childcare for younger kids, household items and other prizes. Success stories are abundant and families report major improvements in family dynamics. They hate for the program to end, but leave with lasting new friendships and enthusiasm for their family’s future.
Cory Mastrandrea, Strengthening Families Program Coordinator, moved to South Carolina from Connecticut three years ago. He worked as a tutor at the University of Connecticut while earning his Bachelor’s in English and has continued tutoring even after graduating. He came to Communities In Schools from an academic background as an after school instructor, and has enjoyed expanding his responsibilities to work and connect with families through the Strengthening Families Program. In his free time, Cory is an avid football fan who may be heard sharing a “go Patriots” from time to time!