Smallwood gives grant to family Support Council |

Smallwood gives grant to family Support Council

by Christina Nelson

The Smallwood Foundation recently donated $26,000 to the Family Support Council of Douglas County.

The money will help fund parenting classes, marriage and family therapy and a part-time, paid position at the council. The position would be for a person who would organize events and publicity, said Deborah Van Bruggen of the Family Support Council.

“That position has always been paid by the Smallwood Foundation,” she said. The council has received grants from the Smallwood Foundation in the past.

“We’ve been supporting the Family Support Council for many, many years,” said Suzy Stockdale of the Smallwood Foundation.

Stockdale said that one of the reasons the foundation continues to support the Family Support Council is because it plays an important role in the community.

Family therapy, lead by Walt Dimitroff, will be partly funded by the grant.

“Many of the families that I see that come to me just have some really difficult issues,” Dimitroff said. “What I try to do is reorganize the family and hook them up to supports so they can improve communications. I think you have to work with the whole family.”

Dimitroff said most of the families he counsels can’t afford a private therapist.

“I think this is where this grant plays an important part.”

He can now take appointments for private counselling sessions at the Family Support Council.

Anger management for men is another service Dimitroff provides. He teaches men to recognize the early warning signs of anger and helps them control it.

“He is the best guy. He is just so easy going,” Van Bruggen said. “These men really relate to him.”

Parenting classes include parenting young children, surviving your teen, parenting the challenging and defiant child and healthy beginnings, a class for pregnant teens in Douglas County.

“We usually have a good response,” she said. “On average we have about 12 parents in each (parenting) class.”

Participants of the classes form a sort of “support group” at the end of the seven-week class, Van Bruggen said.

All parenting classes are free to the public and are funded partly by grants from organizations like the Smallwood Foundation. Other funding comes from federal and state grants, she said.

Grant money also pays for events to inform the community about domestic violence.

“We go to all the schools and do the ‘better safe than sorry program,'” Van Bruggen said.

For more information about programs offered by the Family Support Council, call 782-8692.

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