My Discovery Destination promotes quality time with children through learning opportunities
In an effort to strengthen families, a national program is connecting parents with resources that help them acquire the skills to create meaningful parent-child relationships.
Sharilee Griffiths is the coalition coordinator for My Discovery Destination in Logan. She said that this program incorporates what’s called the “Social Development Strategy,” which aims to provide youth with opportunities to learn new skills and enhance existing ones by providing them with rewards so they can bond with the adults providing them. The adults can then set clear standards that lead to healthy behaviors.
“Everything we do at My Discovery Destination is about strengthening families and building resilience in kids. And really, the goal for that, the reason for that, is to incorporate the protective factors, surround our youth with protective factors for all kinds of prevention: suicide prevention, underage drinking prevention, bullying, prevention. Any prevention program you look at, or any prevention, data research that you look at, the core is family bonding,” Griffiths said.
Griffiths said that My Discovery Destination started as a summer program five years ago and has evolved into something bigger.
“I was sitting in a board meeting, I sit on a lot of boards, and it came to my attention that there was kind of a hole in the community, that parents needed something fun to do with our kids during the summer; and so I went back to my team and said, ‘Hey, let's develop this program,’ and so we did, and it just kind of took on a life of its own. So, we've actually never been back to the other work that we really do. We just realized families need this year-round, businesses need this year-round, and this is a way to strengthen the community,” Griffiths said.
Leticia Clegg is a Cache Valley mother who said that she and her family use the program as a way to come up with fun activities.
“My kids really have fun playing and finding the different activities and coming up with ways to complete those," Clegg said. "So, it's really been great for our family just to get us up and going and interacting out in the community. It has brought us together. It's something fun my kids look forward to. I've noticed my kids will straight up ask like, ‘Hey, let's look and find something fun to do.’ Instead of wanting to watch TV, I've noticed my family has become closer. We've been able to use the parenting tips and advice to be able to strengthen communication with my kids and within our family. It's crazy to me to think that there's this wonderful free resource out in the community. And I'm just kind of surprised to think how many people don't know about it, and just the wonderful benefits it's had in my family.”
With over 6,000 people utilizing the program in 2021 alone, they are now adding components for schools to help them build home-to-school connections.
For more information about My Discovery Destination, visit mydiscoverydestination.com