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Growing Together Program

The Growing Together Program, co-sponsored by Illinois Central College and Harrison Primary School is a parenting training program designed for 15 single parents and their children living in Harrison Homes Public Housing Program. The program is designed to help prevent child abuse and to help young women regain custodial care of their children who for various reasons have been taken from them. Illinois Central College provides the parent component and Harrison School provides the children's component. Both components are held at Harrison School in a supportive, relaxed learning environment where participants feel comfortable sharing their problems and their goals.

The parenting component is designed to (1) help parents develop a deeper understanding of their children and themselves that will enable them to raise their children in a more positive atmosphere, (2) raise the self esteem of participants, (3) enable parents to learn to take charge of their lives, (4) increase parents' knowledge of developmental patterns affecting the physical and emotional growth of their children, and (5) reduce the number of low income children placed in foster care due to neglect and abuse.

The children's component is designed to foster positive growth and development for children and focuses on areas of good child/parent communication skills, youth self esteem, life planning skills and stress management for children.

The overall outcome of this project is for participating mothers to gain a more positive self-image and thus be better equipped to take charge of their lives and create an atmosphere of family stability and security for their children. The children benefit from a greater sense of self–worth, enhanced educational and social skills, and improved communication between parent and child that will better enable them to cope with their family.