NORTH READING — The North Reading Community Impact Team’s Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition is excited to offer the “Guiding Good Choices” program for the seventh time.

Parents, grandparents and guardians are invited to join this free four-part workshop series every Wednesday in October, starting next week! Dinner will be provided each week during workshops, which are held from 6-9 p.m., thanks to a grant from Winchester Hospital.

This interactive program is open to all caregivers of children ages 9-14. In a lively, open and confidential atmosphere, participants will learn specific strategies to help children and teens avoid substance use and other high-risk behaviors. Participants will learn how to set clear family boundaries, practice skills to strengthen family bonds, help their children develop healthy behaviors, and increase protective factors.

Previous workshop attendees were impressed by the practical and concrete tools shared in these sessions. “GGC really helped open my eyes to common struggles our kids have and offered specific and tangible strategies on how to help them and to make our family stronger and ready for the challenges the teen years bring,” expressed one attendee. Other participants were impressed by strategies to talk about and control anger, as well as how to initiate conversations with children in a non-threatening environment. “It felt more like a conversation compared to just sitting and watching a presentation,” commented another participant.

The evidence-based “Guiding Good Choices” program was developed by Dr. J. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard F. Catalano at the University of Washington. Their research found that children and teens who are bonded with their caregivers and who are surrounded by a supportive community are less likely to initiate in high-risk behaviors.

The weekly workshop format allows participants to share real-life examples of strategies that can be used in every household. During the final session, guest speakers provide targeted education on youth substance use trends and mental health right here in North Reading.

Series topics include:
• Workshop 1: Wed., Oct. 4: “Family Fundamentals and Values”
• Workshop 2: Wed., Oct. 11: “Facing Family Conflicts and Risk Management”
• Workshop 3: Wed., Oct. 18: “Setting Your Family Up for Success”

  • Workshop 4: Wed., Oct. 25: “Youth Substance Use and Mental Health 101”

The weekly workshops will be held in the Flint Memorial Library Activity Room (147 Park Street) from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. In order to maximize learning and build off previous ideas, attending all four sessions is highly recommended.

The program is facilitated by Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition Chair Jennifer Ford and local parent Jason Slattery who have been trained in the curriculum and have also led previous workshops.

To register for any of the program workshops, visit and click on “Events” in the left-hand column. Contact Christie Perrone at or call 978-357-5054 with any questions.