Local families are invited to participate in a series of programs aimed at promoting positive relationships between parents and children from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004 in the Wallace Hall Atrium on Virginia Tech's campus. Registration for the classes will begin at 4 p.m.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will include supervised activities for children and light refreshments.

The sessions have been developed and will be coordinated by Virginia Tech students enrolled in the course, "Parent Education and Practice" taught by Tammy Henderson, assistant professor of human development. Henderson started the program four years ago and collaborated with Cathy Jacobs, director of family and work/life resources in Virginia Tech's Office of Personnel Services.

"With this program," Henderson said, "students provide a service to the local community as they put research and best practices to use."

The classes are for expecting parents-to-be and those with children up to 18 years of age. Topics include promoting healthy eating habits among preteens, supporting the successful transition to fatherhood, and encouraging positive emotional and physical development among adolescent girls.

Starting Over, a program focused solely on single mothers, revolves around helping victims of domestic violence to obtain life skills and become independent. Additionally, there are two programs offered for single fathers.

Another program will center on helping parents launch their high school seniors into adulthood, college life, or work. In addition, there is a class for adolescent parents designed to produce successful parenting lifestyles.

There will also be a Families United program that advocates positive parent-child relationships in families with teens, ages 12- to 16-years-old, who have abused alcohol or drugs. To meet the needs of all families, there also will be a class provided for parents of gifted or special needs children ages 3- to 5-years-old.

For more information, contact Henderson at (540) 231-2701 or Cathy Jacobs at (540) 231-3213, cajacobs@vt.edu.