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Celebrating Families Healing through Recovery

Families are on the road to healing through family meals, guided discussions, and building resilience together through Celebrating Families, a new program offered by Children’s Advantage in Ravenna. The program is unique in that it includes every member of the family to help strengthen recovery, break the cycle of addiction, and increase successful family reunification.

“My main goal,” NiCole Thomas, director of the Family Center states, “is to create a safe, warm environment where families are comfortable to process some of their hardest times and create an atmosphere of hope.”

Families come together on Thursday evenings for 16-weeks and begin by sharing a homecooked meal together that was prepared by NiCole and her staff. Meals are homecooked from quality ingredients, like fresh vegetables and easy enough for families to be able to replicate in their own homes. The food is donated from Duma Meats as well as the Akron Food Bank, so the menu varies based on what they receive through donations. More than just a shared meal, this is the beginning of family processing. Family meals provide an opportunity for family members to come together, strengthen ties, and build better relationships.

After dinner, participants will break off into groups of parents and the children by age group. Each week there is a different topic for the groups to focus on, such as how to create healthy boundaries in your family and with others. Topics start out gentle, and as week go on, progress to more difficult topics like the impact of addiction. As the program wraps at the end of the 16 weeks, the discussions progress to resilience, thriving, and celebrating their victories.

At the end of the night, everyone comes together to discuss the evening’s topic -- what that would look like in their family, how would they implement that in their family, and to really start a meaningful conversation.

Celebrating Families also offers different ways to create and learn too, with hands on activities and video demonstrations. The program allows providers and families to come together and model healthy family interactions.

“I think one of the most beautiful things about this program,” stated Nicole, “is that the group really tackles intergenerational trauma, and the intergenerational impact substance abuse has on a family, while they are healing and restoring those familial relationships. I see generations of healing and just how much resilience these families have.”

The program is funded by the Mental Health & Recovery Board received from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services’ State Opioid Response (SOR) Grant.

Celebrating Families is available for any family with parents in recovery. Children’s Advantage is accepting referrals for their next 16-week session, set to start in the spring. If interested call Children’s Advantage at 330-296-5552.


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