Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

SFBV Attends National Conference


Bryan,Tx–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley participated in Every Victim, Every Time’s 11th Annual Conference in Bryan at the Brazos County Expo Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-day conference provided law enforcement, prosecutors, medical staff, teachers, social services agencies, mental health professionals and other agencies working with crime victims an opportunity to explore and learn valuable information about victim issues related to the criminal justice system.

Laurie Naumann, SFBV’s Program Manager, presented  a workshop on ACEs[Adverse Childhood Experiences that can leave tremendous, lasting effects on children’s health and well-being].  “I hope those in attendance came away with a better understanding of what adverse childhood experiences are and how both children and adults, including themselves, can be affected by them. I also hope that they acquired some tools that will help them be more effective in their work when dealing with people who have experienced ACEs–whether victim or perpetrator,” said Naumann.

SFBV also had a presence in the Exhibit Hall of the Expo Center. Staff members greeted , introduced the SFBV project and handed out goody bags to the more than 700 attendees.

SFBV is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. The project serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.


Couples get ‘Synergized’ at SFBV’S Marriage Retreat


Bryan, Tx–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley hosted Synergy: Marriage Retreat on Friday and Saturday in Bryan at Rivergate Church.  The retreat was designed to provide tools for couples and engaged couples for better communicating and understanding each other’s needs, appreciation of the value each person brings to the marriage team as well as methods to avoid and resolve conflict.

More than 50 couples attended the two-day event and participated in educational courses [PREP: Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program] presented by SFBV staff.  Candis Kelley and fiance, Roy Washington attended the retreat and are planning to marry in August of this year. ” We learned so much about each other and how to communicate effectively.  We both will apply the tools that were presented in order to maintain a healthy marriage,” said Kelley.

The retreat was a success and goals were achieved according to Nancy Winn, SFBV’s Brazos County Program Coordinator. “With the help of my colleagues, the goal was no different than what the preface of Prep stated…teaching couples about relationship risks and strategies for lowering risks; concepts and risk models. The bonus was having a fun and receptive group,” said Winn.

Participants were treated to catered meals, gift cards, marriage license discounts, SFBV’s photo booth and some couples won great door prizes!

SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to create and maintain healthy families.

The marriage retreat will also be held in Burleson, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties at a future date.

The project is funded is provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.



SFBV participates in Family Day Fair


HEARNE, TX–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley participated in Project Unity’s Family Information Day on Thursday, February 28th in Hearne.

John Naron, Interim City Manager of Hearne, said, ” The purpose of the event is to inform Robertson County residents that there are agencies and people who care and monies out there to assist with their basic needs from utilities to family health.”

More than 15 agencies and organizations provided resources in the areas of health, nutrition, finance, family and healthy relationships to parents who attended the event.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The project seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to maintain healthy families.

For more information about the SFBV project, please contact families.tamu.edu or Sfbrazos@gmail.com.



Magazine gives “Insite” on SFBV project


BRYAN,TX–INSITE Magazine hosted a launch party on February 9th in downtown Bryan.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley project was featured in the February edition.  The event took place at the scenic SEAD Gallery, where over 100 community leaders, organizations and guests attended.

“We [SFBV] are too excited to have our project featured in INSITE. It’s great exposure for our project and to inform our communities about what our project has to offer,” said Joe McGinty, Marketing Coordinator with SFBV.

SFBV is hosting a wedding conference for couples of the Brazos Valley. The two-day conference will be held on March 31st and April 1st in Bryan.

Conference registration and more information can be obtained at (979)845-1146, sfbrazos@gmail.com or families.tamu.edu





Madison County celebrates the end of parenting classes



Madison County participants of the Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley parenting class celebrated the completion of the nearly 7 weeks course on Monday, December 19 in Madisonville, Tx.

Major Ricardo DeJesus, United States Air Force, was the guest speaker and he spoke to the participants about stress and anger that are associated with parenting.

Parents received their certificates of completion and children were treated to a special Christmas gift and backpacks. The evening ended with a Flamenco dance performance by Brianna DeJesus-Banos.

SFBV serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.

Wi$eUp, Family Financial Management project will get underway in Madison County in January, 2017!

Funding for the project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.




Grimes County residents complete SFBV’s parenting class



Parenting isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You’re in it for the long haul and there will be plenty of challenges along the way!

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley wrapped up its first ever parenting class in Navasota, Tx on Friday. Grimes County participants enjoyed a catered meal and cake to celebrate the ending of the 7 weeks course.

Eloise Morris, parent and participant, received her certificate of completion and said Grimes County needed this type of program and wants to encourage more parents to attend SFBV’s program next year. ” I learned so many new ways and effective techniques when it comes to discipline children.  When my children are having temper tantrums, I’ve learned to wait until they have calmed down and then discuss consequences for their actions. Before, I would get into a shouting match which only added fuel to the fire. I also learned to reward them for their “good” behavior.”

Chasitdy Love, Grimes County Program Coordinator said, “participants were very attentive and excited about learning to communicate better with their children.”  Love hopes they were able to learn better discipline techniques and to improve relationships between parents and their children from attending the class.

“I’ve learned how to manage children better when they are being “bad” and to teach them how to reduce negative thinking.” “Mrs. Love was a great teacher and she made the classes interesting and I’m looking forward to the upcoming classes.” said Vikirenaa Calhoun.

Family Financial Management [Wi$eUp] classes will be offered in 2017.

SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to create and maintain health families.

The project serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.







Narro brings Strengthening Families classes to county



Caldwell’s Holly Suehs Narro is the new Burleson County program
coordinator for Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley (SFBV).
SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas
A&M AgriLife Extension and the program is funded through the Department
of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Assistance.

SFBV offers three workshops and classsies throughout the year, including a one-day marriage/relationship(PREP) workshop, an eight-week parenting series (one evening a week for eight weeks) and an eight-week family financial management series(one evening a week for eight weeks).

PREP is a marriage and relationship education workshop that teaches
couples how to communicate effectively, work as a team to solve problems,
manage confl icts and preserve and enhance commitment and friendship. It also teaches single individuals about positive relationship skills.

The first PREP workshop was on Oct. 15, andNarro said it was extremely
successful. The participants had positive feedback and were most appreciative
that the program was offered close to home in Caldwell, Narro said.

The parenting program is a family skills training program that covers effective discipline techniques, managing stress, how to improve family communication
and problem-solving. It is designed to improve relationships between parents and children. The parenting series will begin on Monday, Nov. 7. This class is already full. However, the next class series will be in the spring, and registration
has already begun.

The family financial management program Wi$eUp promotes financial security through education and skills training, and covers topics such as money math, how to track spending and setting financial goals, learn about credit, saving, and investing and how to plan for retirement. The family financial management series will begin in January 2017, and registration has begun.

Narro said that SFBV in Burleson County hopes to become a highly respected program to help individuals, couples and families achieve their goals in maintaining a healthy family and to provide them with the tools to do so.

Narro said, “These classes and workshops are not just for families in crisis situations. They are for anyone, parents and families, to gain knowledge and
learn useful tools to help them in their personal relationships and with
their children.” “I learn something new each time I teach a class or workshop,” Narro said. Narro said that the community’s response to the program has been

Narro said she is grateful for “the positive feedback and overwhelmingly positive response to the Strengthening Families Program in Burleson County. This program is going to grow and do great things for the families in Burleson County because of the tremendous support.”

Narro is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in health. Narro has worked for many years as a health
and community educator for St. Joseph Regional Health Center and most
recently worked for the Burleson County Extension Office.

Narro is excited to implement SFBV in her home area of Burleson County. She has strong ties to Burleson County and has lived in Caldwell her entire life, and her family has lived here for many generations. Narro said she truly cares about the communities in Burleson County and the families who live within the county, and she looks forward to serving them.

Preregistration is required to attend any workshops and class series.
All classes are free, and include a meal and free childcare. Classes are held at various locations around Burleson County. For more information about SFBV or to register for upcoming workshops and classes, visit: families.tamu.edu or contact Narro at (979) 567-2312 or email Holly.Narro@ag.tamu.edu


AgriLife program offers resources for area families


A new program launched by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will offer local families free marriage and parenting resources.

The program, known as Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley, will provide informational workshops and courses.

The program is staffed by 10 professionals, many of whom are former social workers. It caters to anyone over 18 in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties. SFBV was established this year by a grant from Texas Health and Human Services and offers guidance on marriage and relationships, successful parenting, finance and money management and adverse childhood experiences.

“Our workshops are normally eight hours long, free of charge, and we provide a free lunch and child care,” said Joe McGinty, marketing coordinator for the program.

The “healthy relationships” portion of the program, known as Prevention and Relationship Enhancement, focuses on marriage and relationships and provides effective ways for couples to communicate and solve problems when conflicts arise. The parenting portion, known as the Strengthening Families Program, focuses on discipline tactics and stress management. With family financial management, or Wi$eUp, families can learn financial awareness and money math, gaining an understanding of credit and budgeting, as well as retirement planning. Adverse Childhood Experiences guides parents with children or teens who have gone through a traumatic incident such as sexual assault, divorce, neglect or death of a loved one.

McGinty clarified the program is not a form of one-on-one counseling, but rather an educational resource, although SFBV coordinators partner with various organizations and nonprofits in the area and are able to make recommendations for those in need of help.

“We are trying to phase and address people’s problems before they occur, and provide resources for those people to maintain that,” McGinty said.

Workshops and classes take place across the counties SFBV caters to. Representatives often can be found at health fairs and back-to-school events. Some workshops already have taken place in Burleson and Madison counties since the start of the summer, with more events planned for Brazos County and other areas in the near future.

McGinty explained that when AgriLife first initiated the program, a major goal was to serve the public with dignity. While resources already exist for families going through struggles, many people don’t want to be labeled as low-income, in need, troubled or identified based on a particular issue such as drug abuse.

“You can never have enough preventative counseling and drug prevention programs,” McGinty said. “But there is a need for this type of thing without a stigma attached.”

SFBV is offered free for families in any financial situation who are looking for guidance, McGinty explained. The program also partners with numerous local churches, school districts, health centers, treatment centers and nonprofits that can provide additional resources for participants.

To learn more about upcoming events or tools offered through SFBV, visit families.tamu.edu or call Laurie Naumann at 979-862-1915. McGinty noted that those interested should be aware that the PREP marriage workshop scheduled for Saturday in Bryan has been canceled.

SFBV kicks-off classes in Caldwell and Madisonville



Strengthen Families of the Brazos Valley hosted “Marriage and Relationship” workshops in Madisonville and Burleson counties on Saturday. The nearly eight-hour course was offered to couples and individuals who are married or in cohabiting relationships seeking to strengthen those relationships.  The course offered a lifetime of practical ideas and tools to help keep relationships strong and healthy. This was the first ever workshop taught by the  SFBV’s program coordinators.

Holly Narro, Program Coordinator for Burleson County said, “The adults who were in attendance were enthusiastic and actively participated in the individual as well as group activities. The participants had positive feedback and were most appreciative that the program was offered close to home in Burleson County. They especially found the Speaker Listener Technique and Communication tools to be helpful.”

SFBV is a new project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The project will seek to provide couples and individuals with the tools and resources they need to create and maintain healthy families.

Courses are free and will also be offered in Brazos, Grimes and Robertson counties.

SFBV hosts Town Hall Meeting


COLLEGE STATION—Residents and community leadership came together on Thursday, September 15 at the Christ United Methodist Church to hear from a panel of local authorities, drug addiction professionals, prevention programs and Texas A&M University’s student government about the growing drug usage and abuse trend in the Twin Cities.

A crowd of about 45 people attended the nearly two-hour presentation, and those in attendance included teenagers, senior citizens, school administrators, officers of the law enforcement and elected officials.

A question was asked from the audience about what the most important thing parents should know about the increasing drug abuse trend.

“Just observation, recognizing it in your own family,” said Bobbi Brooks, Program Manager of the Watch UR BAC project. “There are resources
out there that are available for people you think may have, or have an addiction.”

The program was sponsored by Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley.

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Humans Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant #90FM0099. These services are available to all eligible persons, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or religion.