Parenting workshops aimed at helping improve family communication

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Communities That Care Coordinator Marilynn Pysher hopes Shelter Island parents will take advantage of the organization’s workshops designed to support their efforts to assist their children in making good life choices and achieving academic success.

What would you do if you saw a neighbor’s child drinking or using drugs? Would you want your neighbor to tell you if it were your child demonstrating such behavior? Is your communication with your child always as open and direct as you might wish?

These and other questions about family interactions will be the focus of workshops sponsored by Communities That Care, which is in its fifth year of helping parents assist their children in making good life choices and achieving academic and social success.

When Marilynn Pysher, now a member of the Shelter Island Board of Education, first embraced the CTC concept in 2007, she was warned by a local clergyman that in this small community, she would be headed for failure.

Ms. Pysher believed from the start that in a society beset by substance abuse, many one-parent families or families where both parents work, everyone can use support to improve and sustain good family communications. CTC is financed with a $2,000 grant from the town. Other grants once available to such groups have dried up in the tight economy, Ms. Pysher said.

For the third successive year, CTC is about to roll out its Guiding Good Choices workshop for parents of children between the ages of 9 and 14. And a second workshop, Supporting School Success, is designed to reach families with children in kindergarten through third grade.

Coordinators Mary Kanarvogel, Ellen Gove and Greg Nissen will serve as facilitators for Guiding Good Choices while Wendy Clark and John Kerr will lead the Supporting School Success workshop.

“These are really great trainers with experience in these issues,” Ms. Pysher said in an interview at her Silver Beach house.

Parents shouldn’t think participation in the workshops means they have troubled children or are failing as parents, she said. Everyone can use support in developing good family management skills, she said.

“This is really a prevention program,” Ms. Pysher said. “It’s so much harder and more expensive” to cope with problems after they develop. “It’s so much easier and cost-effective to head it off,” she said.

Guiding Good Choices begins Thursday, Oct. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Shelter Island High School Library. The full cost of the program is $20, which covers all sessions that run through Nov. 15. And the price includes dinner and childcare.

The Supporting School Success program begins Thursday, Oct. 11, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Shelter Island High School Library and includes a “Kids Kamp” program for children in kindergarten through third grade, so parents can attend sessions without having to hire babysitters.

If you’re interested in participating in either program, call Jacki Dunning at 749-0302 ext. 101.

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26 Comment

  • Sorry people but if Denny’s comes to the downtown area as much as I hate to say it they are entitled to the same tax benefits as any other business. The new Hotel is also a major chain and they have received a 10 year tax abatement. You can not discriminate on a case by case basis. If you do you are asking for a lawsuit. I say let them buy a vacant store downtown and either demo it or refurbish it and build new. Isn’t the priority hear having downtown Riverhead become a tourist attraction? Denny’s is very good and serves all meals. I welcome Denny’s with open arms as should the town.

  • As Much as I like Dennys ..I would rather drive up west if I really wanted Dennys..
    They will take a lot away from our Main St restaurants….and what about our diner?We want business but enough with the food stuff …They have enough competition…

  • Hyatt is managing the hotel; Hyatt doesn’t own it. The management is subject to change when the contract expires. It’s not as clear cut a comparison.

  • Hyatt does not own the hotel. It manages the hotel.

  • Just because Denny’s is not exactly fine dining does not make it fast food. And what about Denny’s makes Mr. Tuccio think that it does not qualify as a business that creates jobs?

  • If you like Denny’s enough to drive a half hour away and back why would you not want them near you? I admit there is nothing quite like a Grand Slam Breakfast at 3:00 am!


  • Not Dennys-unless we also get a Whole Foods.

  • Hyatt is the name on the hotel and is a world wide chain any way you look at it.It doesn’t matter who owns or manages it. According to the Supervisor they will bend over backwards to accommodate any business downtown. If I open a business downtown and am not afforded a 10 year tax abatement like several other businesses I would file a lawsuit in a heartbeat.If you give it to one you can’t discriminate against others by not giving it to them. As far as taking business away from existing restaurants they have been doing just fine for many, many years already and if they have customers that are loyal they will keep on returning. If Riverhead ever does accomplish its goal of becoming a world wide tourist attraction we will need every option possible to accommodate the people. I would like to see a Red Lobster come to town along with Denny’s. I have eaten breakfast at the same “Mom and Pop” shops in town for 35-40 years and will continue to do so. I’m sure I could squeeze in Denny’s here and there without putting these other establishments out of business. If Ms. Downs is well enough off to travel up west with the current price of gasoline to visit some of her favorite spots well I say more power to you!

  • A Whole Foods would be wonderful! I wonder if Tracey Stark-James has made any effort to reach out to them and bring them downtown, or for that matter anyone in Town Hall.

  • Thanks for your article. I also think laptop computers are getting to be more and more popular lately, and now in many cases are the only kind of computer utilised in a household. It is because at the same time they are becoming more and more affordable, their computing power keeps growing to the point where they are as powerful as desktop out of just a few years ago.

  • Thanks Eric, Thanks for those templates.

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