"I've learned a lot about communication and working with my children to accomplish goals.  We still have a long way to go before we can fully implement a lot of these techniques, but I'm really enjoying the educational and social support that I've received through this program."

-Past Participant

"I think about the things that we’ve been learning in this class almost daily. I have loved thinking about how I can be a better listener and spend more time with my children with one-on-one time. I feel like we’ve learned that even though we have problems, we can solve them compassionately through listening in an honest way"

-Past Participant

"We really loved the classes.  It was very clear that everyone involved had a real passion for their work and cared about us as a family and as individuals. I have already recommended you many times. Thanks so much!"

-Past Participant

"Growing up, my family dynamic was dysfunctional. We weren’t close, we often fought, used unhealthy coping strategies and avoided each other when possible. We didn’t support each other’s emotional, intellectual or physical needs. My parents weren’t concerned with their children's academic success or any areas where they may have had the potential to excel in.

At the end of my junior year of high school, my father made the decision to leave my mother. My mother became more indifferent towards her children and was not mentally stable enough to support them. The children who were still minors at the time, were left to fend on their own. I was seventeen years old with a terrible school record. I had failed multiple classes, was tardy to school near every day and had incomplete or “No-Grade” for classes where I had too many absences. I wanted to graduate from high school but had little family support to do so.

When I began my senior year of high school, I made the decision to do everything in my power to earn good grades, attend all of my classes and make up for the past failed grades. It wasn’t until a caring adult at the high school began providing me with options to improve my circumstances that I began to feel hope of a better future. One of those options was participating with the UVU Stronger Families Project. If I could get my family to attend the program with me, I would be able to make up past absences in classes where I had a “No-Grade.” The biggest challenge was getting my mother and three younger sisters to attend the program each week with me. I thought to myself, “There is no way I’ll be able to get my family to attend with me.” If it wasn’t for the Stronger Families Project, my family would have never found the time to spend with each other. This was the only time we truly spent together and learned how to communicate more effectively.

The UVU Stronger Families Project emphasizes the importance of eating dinner with the family. This is a time where families can communicate how each individual member is doing inside and outside of the home. The more my family ate dinner together, the stronger our relationships grew. My mother began to see the importance for me to graduate from high school. I was able to improve my grades and attendance to walk with my class of 2011. Because of the changes in our family and myself, I applied for college and earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, emphasis in psychology. I proudly graduated with my degree in spring 2019, something unthinkable years before.

During my college career I have learned a lot about myself and how I can help others navigate a similar path. I had the opportunity to attend the Stronger Families Project again as an observer and learn how each class is specific to the parents and children and is essential to educate families on how they can strengthen their relationships. It was an interesting transition from the mindset of a teenager to an adult college student in the Stronger Families Project. I was able to see it from both perspectives. My story has inspired me to seek a career where I can help youth find strength within themselves and their family."


-Aubrey Bushnell, UVU Graduate, Class of 2019