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A series of free workshops intended to help family members talk with one another about their problems will be offered beginning Feb. 5 in South Buffalo.

South Council Member Brian M. Higgins, who is co-sponsoring the seminars, said the workshops will bring together two local experts on family communication for the first time.

"It's a program that is innovative," he said. "The goal is to bring the community together -- parents and students -- so they can get a better understanding of family problems."

The program will place parents and their children in grades seven through 12 in separate seminars. The groups then will come together for a wrap-up session March 8. The instructors are Dick Ehinger and Michael Breen.

Ehinger, who will handle the adult seminars, heads the substance-abuse prevention program at South Park High School. Breen, who will speak to students, has been youth services director for the South Buffalo Community Association since 1978.

Higgins said the program is funded in part by a $2,000 community development block grant. He said 6,000 pamphlets have been distributed at South Buffalo schools to encourage students to participate.

"We'd also like to encourage people from all over Erie County to attend," Higgins said.

He said subjects will include how students and parents can avoid being misinterpreted by one another, improving self-esteem and withstanding peer pressure.

The seminars are free, but Higgins encouraged people to register by calling 851-5169. People planning to attend the combined session are asked to go to at least one of the three previous seminars.

All seminars run from 7 to 9 p.m. The dates and locations:

Feb. 5 -- Parents, Holy Family School Hall, 920 Tifft St.

Feb. 8 -- Students, Holy Family School Hall.

Feb. 14 -- Parents, St. Martin's School Hall, 1140 Abbott Road.

Feb. 15 -- Students, St. Martin's School Hall.

Feb. 21 -- Parents, St. Teresa's Parish Center, 1974 Seneca St.

Feb. 22 -- Students, St. Teresa's Parish Center.

March 8 -- Combined session, Woodside United Methodist Church Hall, Abbott Road at Potter.

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