Families First Institute Offers Free, Public Courses to Strengthen Families

SRQ Story Project

Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programs serves more than 700 of the county’s most vulnerable children and their families each year, providing high-quality education, care, nutrition and family support services. Children First’s Families First Institute helps the non-profit achieve its mission of strengthening children and families by offering a variety of free parenting classes, ranging from the award-winning Nurturing Dads class to courses on calendar-based budgeting and career readiness.

The Nurturing Dads program hit a milestone this spring when it kicked off its 200th class with its 2,000th participant! The free 10-week course is modeled after The Nurturing Father’s Program, a curriculum created by Sarasota author Mark Perlman that allows fathers the opportunity to explore and discuss parenting topics in a comfortable setting with other dads. 

“This course is the perfect way of introducing new dads to 21st-century parenting.  It’s amazing curriculum from start to finish,” said Nurturing Dads Class graduate Israel.

Another component of the Families First Institute is the Kinship Care Support Group which provides an opportunity for friendship and support among fellow grandparents turned parents. 

“We never thought we would be raising children during our retirement years, but our three young grandchildren needed a stable home. So much had changed since raising our own children, and we were grateful for the classes offered at Children First. From ‘Nurturing Dads’ and ‘5 Keys to Better Behavior,’ to the ‘Kinship Care Support Group’ for grandparents, the Families First Institute has been a priceless resource,” said Families First Institute graduate Alan.

Every class is free, open to the public, and includes childcare. The courses are made possible by generous community support and partnerships. For more information and a full list of classes, visit www.childrenfirst.net/classes/.

Children First

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