"Many of our teens have a problem with drugs, alcohol and violence."

Those are the words of Robert Curry, the man leading the charge in bringing active parenting programs to New Canaan this October and November.

Curry said that while parenting programs have been instituted in New Canaan before, it has "not been to this extent."

"I discovered the active parenting program nearly 24 years ago when I was a deacon at the Presbyterian Church," Curry said.

That was right around the time the Active Parenting Publishers, the company producing the products for the courses this fall, were beginning their educational programs for parents in Georgia. Curry had traveled down to Georgia for leadership training certification.

"I saw an enormous change in my own understanding as a young dad," he said regarding his experiences. "The kids actually end up doing really well."

It is this understanding and success he hopes to bring to New Canaan families.

"The problem is mainly with teens," Curry said. "And it escalates in high school after late junior high."

Curry believes a good relationship based on mutual respect and trust decreases the likelihood that teens will make bad decisions when parents aren't there to guide them.

He said town administrators have always been familiar with the drug and alcohol use in town and have been very supportive of this initiative.

Last year, Curry helped assemble and headed a group of more than 40 people. The New Canaan Coalition for Raising Healthy Children and Teens in a Healthy Community has everyone from First Selectman Jeb Walker to New Canaan High School Principal Tony Pavia involved.

This past spring they brought in Joseph A. Califano Jr., author of "How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid," to speak at New Canaan High School.

"That lecture was a huge success at New Canaan High," Curry said. The coalition is looking to achieve more of the same with the new programs this fall.

Regarding why there were also programs scheduled for younger children when the problem is mainly with teens Curry said, "The younger we get them the better it will be, according to child psychologists."

He added, "you need to get these kids before middle school. Because once they enter high school, the battle is much tougher."

Curry also mentioned the foundations of addiction can be linked to early childhood trauma. "The idea is to be able to communicate and establish a foundation from the very beginning that we can all depend on," he said.

With the program in high demand all over the country, Curry believes it will have successful results here in New Canaan. Curry's own children are doing well.

"They are adults now," he said. "I'm in the wedding and grandfather stage of parenthood now," he said with a smile.

For more information regarding the active parenting programs in New Canaan, contact Curry at 203-972-9400 or e-mail RobertC@turningpointforleaders.com.