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The Parent Project
Natilee and Sandra McGruder are a dynamic mother-daughter team. Together, they lead The Parent Project program in coordination with the Bridge’s Davis Treatment Center in Montgomery.

The Parent Project is an activity-based program created in California twenty-eight years ago. It has been used throughout the U.S. to teach parents how to implement behavior management techniques at home. 

The first thing you notice when you enter the space at The Parent Project is that someone has taken care to make the space attractive and welcoming. There is art on the walls, flowers in the room, and mints on the table. Natilee McGruder says that she and Sandra have designed every aspect of the course to convey a sense of care and respect for the parents. Everyone is addressed as Mr. or Ms., and the class itself decides on the ground rules for boundaries and interaction.
 
Most of the parents in the course are single parents, and some are raising the children of relatives. For many, there is not much support when they encounter difficulties with their children. All of the parents already love their children; what they can gain through the course is a set of skills to convey that love in a way that provides structure and encourages the child to behave in a more positive way. The first seven weeks of the ten-week course focus on the basics of parenting. Then the final three weeks are run as a support group. Each class is encouraged to continue meeting as a support group after the course is completed.
 
The McGruders have deep roots in the Montgomery community. Sandra is retired from Maxwell Air Force Base, where she served as the Human Resources Course Director and was the developer of various Air Force Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Diversity Courses. Natilee grew up in the community and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. Natilee did her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C., then completed a law degree at The University of Alabama. She went on to study as a Rotary Scholar at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia where she obtained a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. 
 
Both Natilee and Sandra have a deep desire to give to the community. In leading the Parent Project course, their aim is to create an environment of trust, a safe haven of love and respect that will in turn transfer to the parents' interactions with their children and bring about the change they want to see in their families. 
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