Introducing Moving Forward Cafés: Conversations to Promote Recovery and Well-Being

In 2016, Vivek H. Murthy was the first U.S. surgeon general to release a report focused on substance addiction. In the report, “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health,” Murthy reveals that one in seven Americans will face substance addiction in their lifetime, and only one in ten of those people will receive treatment. We recognize the increased national attention to addiction and also the reality that many families and communities have been struggling for a long time without adequate support and resources. Be Strong Families has been approached by agencies in the recovery community to adapt Vitality and Parent Cafés with a specific focus on peer-to-peer conversations to support the recovery process.

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Meet the Regional Parent Engagement Advisory Groups!

This week, we are highlighting the work of the Be Strong Families Regional Parent Engagement Advisory Groups (RPEAs). RPEAs are made up of parents who are ready to be the architects of change in the lives of children and families who have been trained in Parent Cafés and are committed to building Protective Factors. They model the Be Strong Families vision of parent leadership. The parent leaders share their own story of Parent Cafés and the power of meaningful parent engagement, and have the opportunity to weigh in on a national agenda and local work through delivering Parent Cafés, piloting and giving feedback around new trainings and Cafés and bringing parent issues and concerns to the table. There are RPEAs currently in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with groups to come soon in Oakland, Peoria, Pasadena-Altadena, and Washington, D.C.

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Jessie SchrantzComment
Deeds speak louder than words…right? Or maybe not... / Los hechos hablan más que las palabras ... ¿verdad? O tal vez no...

“Obras son Amores No Buenas Razones” (Deeds Speak Louder than Words) … my mom, Ana Maria Gomez, used to say emphatically to my siblings and me a lot! I am a father who doesn’t say much, talk a lot about love, or expresses how much I love my family and friends… But oh man, do I enjoy it every time my wife or my children or my friends tell me they love me!

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Bringing Wellness to the Workplace with Journey to Vitality

Last year, Be Strong Families served as the pilot for our new Journey to Vitality Workplace Wellness Program. Our Vitality Cafés grew out of a realization, developed after hosting hundreds of Parent Cafés, that a healthy family is the foundation for a strong family. In Parent Cafés, we talk about the importance of taking care of yourself – putting on your own oxygen mask so that you can be well for yourself, your children, and your family. In Vitality Cafés, we address taking care of yourself across 6 Vitality Domains – physical, mental & emotional, spiritual, financial, environmental, and social, which work together to support each person’s vitality.

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Parenting Emerging Adults

Back in the day, when we were coming up, our parents considered themselves pretty much done with their job as parents when we hit 18 (or 22) and graduated from school. Today? Not so much. Now, we know that adolescent brains aren’t fully developed until the mid-twenties and, as parents, our experience is that our 20-somethings still need us ... sometimes a lot. Depression and anxiety are off-the-charts for this demographic (18-24 +) and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death. So, what’s going on and what can we do to prevent disaster and to successfully launch our kids into adulthood? 

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What’s Love Got to Do with It?

On this, a nationally recognized “day of love,” I sit here to acknowledge that my definition of love has been expanded beyond recognition this year. I have seen unfold before my eyes as many versions of love as there are songs with it in the lyrics. The center of my learning, growth and personal capacity expansion has been cultivated at one of the locations where we serve group homes of youth in care.  

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Jessie SchrantzComment
A More Perfect Union Launches on A National Day of Racial Healing

What do you get when you bring together local artists sharing songs, rap lyrics and poetry about truth, respect and unity, and small, intimate table conversations centered around peace, justice and racial healing? Answer: You get an outpouring of folks from all walks of life culminating in a safe, welcoming space where people authentically share their lived experiences, hopes and dreams for a more perfect union!

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Jessie Schrantz Comment