Family Frameworks, founded in 2004 by Kiwanis Club of Dalton President-Elect Kathy McGhee Schleier, was the subject of a recent Kiwanis Club meeting as current Executive Director Danielle Putnam and Board Chair Kristy Hardin spoke to the group.
Putnam said she first became involved with Family Frameworks while volunteering teaching a course on building healthy relationships at Southeast Whitfield High School. She said there are similar courses at 11 area high schools in the fall and spring. Putnam said more than 30 volunteer teachers help with about 100 courses each year reaching 2,300 ninth-grade students.
Family Frameworks uses a curriculum from The Dibble Institute, a nonprofit that "promotes relationship training for youth — especially in the context of dating and romantic connections."
According to Family Frameworks, classes encourage kids to “follow a path of healthy choices." The curriculum will “focus on simple building blocks, when possible, in order: Finish high school, go to college or trade school, get a job, get married, then have children for more success and stability."
Youngsters are encouraged to make the right choices for their futures through seven weekly sessions: teen brain; social media; influences; abuse and excuse; bullying and suicide; dating safety; and making decisions. The courses help with the Family Frameworks' goals of providing healthy marriages, strong families and a thriving community.
The program has had an impact as the local divorce rate has declined, but Putnam said too many young people are still making unhealthy choices.
The teen pregnancy rate has dropped, but is still too high, Putnam sad..
“In Whitfield County, we have seen a decrease in the teen pregnancy rate from 61.8 per 1,000 teens in 2004 to the current 17.1 per 1,000 teens," Putnam said. "In Murray County, we have seen a decrease from 58.4 per 1,000 teens to 24.6 per 1,000 teens.”
The major fundraiser for Family Frameworks — the annual Family Frameworks Tailgate — is on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Dalton Golf & Country Club. Dinner is at 6 p.m.
Dalton native and current Calhoun resident Ricky Lake is the speaker. Lake played on the Dalton High School 1967 state champion football team and went on to excel with the Georgia Bulldogs. He then played for the NFL’s New England Patriots and the World Football League’s Jacksonville Sharks.