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 Families Tackle Difficult Topics at Workshops

Law enforcement and education officials recently teamed up in San Diego to help families learn about important topics such as bullying, substance abuse, depression, communication skills, and the dangers of social media.

The workshops, called Families in Motion, are a partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), the San Diego Police Department’s Central Division, and community partners.

“We want the family to learn together so they can grow as a family,” said Kevin Armentano, acting detective for the Juvenile Services Unit.

A group of about 10 families attended weekly classes over the last month. The lessons culminated with a ceremony Sept. 15 where the parents or guardians and children were given certificates of completion.

“I learned a lot,” said Deborah Drosos, one of the parents. “It’s endless, the knowledge that I got here.”

This is the first time the two organizations have collaborated on an effort like this. The workshops were held at the police department’s Central Division headquarters.

Most of the students were from SDCOE’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS), and a few were invited by the police department. They received community service credit for attending the workshops.

For some of the lessons, the parents and children attended together; for others, they were separated to learn different aspects of the same topic. Information covered included juvenile law, parent rights, substance abuse, education, depression, self-esteem, and social media.

“I really appreciate all of this, because it’s more knowledge for my head,” said a 15-year-old student at Monarch School who attended the workshops.

The police department’s Juvenile Services Unit reached out to JCCS’s Parent/Guardian Engagement Team to work together on the workshops. The workshops have been a tremendous success and the two organizations are already planning more for next month.

“It takes a whole community to raise a child and prepare them for college, career, and citizenship,” said Cynthia Burton, family involvement specialist with the Parent/Guardian Engagement Team. “It has been a wonderful partnership."