Giving the Simple Gift of Brain Food to Your Child

By Jessica Beck, NCADD Sacramento Prevention Team

NCADD Sacramento’s Prevention Department is bringing parenting strategies to local residents.  The Kernels Program offers “Nuggets of Truth for Parenting” and is designed to highlight evidence-based behavioral vaccines for parents and caretakers in select multi-family housing units. The program launched in October 2012 at two sites in South & North Sacramento, providing networking opportunities and evidence-based skills that they can immediately apply with tangible results.

The Kernels Program is an outreach parenting series designed for parents and children, ages 6-16. The Program was created by Dr. Dennis Embry with the goal of providing small, proven strategies for parents to influence their children’s behavior. Dr. Embry believes that in order to raise healthy children and teenagers it is important to provide strategies for the whole community not just the individual parent or family, including skills needed to instill family bonding, positive discipline, healthy communication and problem solving.

Participants in the Kernels Program meet once a month, however, regular attendance is not required.  NCADD found that the option of being able to attend at their discretion ensures good enrollment from the community. Hosting the Kernels Program at the participant’s place of residence helps to eliminate any transportation barriers that would be involved with an off-site program placement.

An important incentive to join and participate in the Kernels Program is the opportunity for parents to share experiences with each other. They can discuss what they are learning, what works for their children, and ultimately they can begin to network with other parents who share similar situational struggles in their households.  The importance of networking for parents within residential communities cannot be underestimated. Through consistent promotion and teaching of the Kernels Program, NCADD believes members of the community can serve as a resource for reliable and valuable parenting skills.

We have delivered four Kernels, also known as “Nuggets of Truth for Parenting” to our communities. This month we deliver our fifth Kernel and it is “Giving the Simple Gift of Brain Food to Your Child.” This will be demonstrated by teaching the parents what brain food is, why it is important and how it can allow them to help their child change their bad eating habits. This simple change in eating habits will show improvement in their child’s physical, emotional and mental health. The well-being of the child and their balanced food intake is connected with their relationships in school, in sports, with friends and most importantly at home. By choosing to make healthy choices in what they buy and feed their children they will see that not only will grades improve but energy levels will rise and relationships will prosper.

The North Sacramento site has demonstrated enthusiastic involvement and progressive growth from the community members, and NCADD Sacramento looks forward to expanding this prevention program to other residential communities.  For more information, contact