Program for military families to begin

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The Center for Prevention & Counseling will kick off its 2019 Military Family Night Out Program on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

This year, Military Family Night Out will be held at Sussex County Community College, and all veteran and active military families will have access to Veteran Affairs at SCCC.

The Military Family Night Out is a program for veterans and active service members to come together to share time connecting with their families and each other. The Center for Prevention & Counseling has providing this program in Sussex County since 2013.

“Veterans and active service members can bring their families and join us for a free Military Family Night Out,” said Alya Bower, a Prevention Specialist at The Center for Prevention & Counseling. “This free program includes dinner as well as the opportunity to bring parents and children of all ages together while having fun. Families learn in a welcoming atmosphere about supportive strategies to increase family wellness. They will acquire new ideas for daily living and connect with other military families and services in the community.”

Each new graduating family will receive up to $300 in gift card incentives. This free opportunity is for all people who served (or serve) in every branch of the military as well as families who have a loved one deployed.

The New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN) is the funding agency behind this vital program. NJPN is “a public health agency working to create healthier communities by reducing the burden of substance abuse, addiction and other chronic disease.”

NJPN unites professionals through focused networks to bolster a variety of training and prevention programs offered throughout New Jersey including Military Family Nights.

The NJPN states of this program, “Family communication and structure is strained with each deployment. The Military Family Nights series is based on the Strengthening Families Program in which families practice communication skills, family meetings, effective discipline, therapeutic child play, reinforcing positive behaviors in each other and jointly planning family activities.”

Furthermore, the program assists parents in effectively communicating with one other and in achieving desired behavior in children by utilizing: attention and rewards, clear communication, effective discipline, substance use education, problem solving and limit setting. Children learn how to implement stress management, social skills, problem solving, resisting peer pressure, consequences of substance use, compliance with parental rules and to understand feelings and appropriately cope with anger.

“We love this program and have been doing it for quite a few years,” said Becky Carlson, the Executive Director of The Center for Prevention and Counseling. “It's a great opportunity to help military families in our community.”

Located in Newton and serving the entire county, The Center for Prevention & Counseling's mission is, “To develop the capacities of adults and children to sustain healthy lifestyles by providing services designed to foster addiction-free lives, emotional wellness, financial stability and safe communities.”

The next group begins Wednesday, Jan. 23 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Sussex County Community College's Student Theater (located in the D-Building), 1 College Hill Rd, Newton, NJ 07860. For more information and to register, call Ayla Below at 973-383-4787 ext. 251 or email

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