Port Huron, Michigan is near “Motor City” and so its economy suffered with the recent decline of the automobile industry. Many families lost their jobs, resulting in a 26 percent unemployment rate. In many cases parents searched for employment in other states, separating families and imposing a single-parent lifestyle. Thanks to the Community Action of St. Clair, families got the services they needed to cope with these difficulties.
The Community Action of St. Clair’s Healthy Marriage and Family program offers relationship and parenting courses that focus on coping with stress. Parents learn skills to respect each other and their children, resulting in better communication skills and more quality time spent with their families. “I see the progress from the children of those parents who have taken these courses. They’ve stopped acting out and they are now laughing, smiling, and interacting more with their peers and teachers,” said Dana Boggia, healthy marriage director for community action of St. Clair.
To strengthen the program, Community Action of St. Clair has gained a diverse network of facilitators, including male leaders and married couples. In 2010, 48 parents completed the course, more than double the number expected.