Stephen J. Bavolek Ph.D.

Ph: 262.652.6501
Fx: 262.652.6608

Stephen J. Bavolek, Ph.D.

- Principal author of The Nurturing Parenting Programs®
- President, Family Development Resources, Inc.
- Executive Director, Family Nurturing Centers

Mission Statement

The Family Nurturing Center, is the parent corporation of the Family Nurturing Centers established worldwide.

Incorporated in 1989, the Family Nurturing Center (FNC) is a non-profit (501C3) agency dedicated to the mission of creating nurturing communities by promoting the philosophy of nurturing through parenting programs and information targeted to children, teenagers, adults, families, and the community at large.


Nurturing is the life force within all living creatures that promotes growth in self and others. It is the single most important process for life to flourish in a positive, healthy, caring manner. Among children, teenagers and adults, it is the natural ability to care for yourself as well as others in your environment. Although nurturing is a basic human instinct, the ability to nurture self, as well as others, can be reinforced or hindered.

The development of the FNC is based on the belief that the life force of all human beings is positive and that people of all ages strive to live in peace and harmony by recognizing the goodness in self and others. The purpose of the FNC is to promote the overall growth and well-being of individuals, families, and community by promoting and offering programs and activities designed to enhance nurturing.

Learning to be Nurturing

Learning at its best occurs when individuals discover from within the facts and feelings about themselves and their world. Learning is a very personal experience that integrates cognitive (knowledge) awareness with affective (feeling)awareness.

David Viscott writes in his book “Feel Free” that the world is a collection of objects and feelings held together by concepts. These concepts, feelings, and objects can become distorted under undue stress, a history of unpleasant childhood experiences, or situations in life that demand constant and continuous attention with no let-up in sight. How people behave is dependent on what they know to be true and how they feel at the moment. A fully functioning human being is capable of recognizing that both feelings and thoughts dictate his/her behavior.

The ability to be nurturing can be enhanced through learning. Learning in this instance, however, is the participation in activities on both cognitive and affective levels designed to enhance self-awareness, personal empowerment, self-esteem, self-concept, and empathy.

Goals of the Family Nurturing Center

Components of the Family Nurturing Center

There are four specific components of the FNC:

  1. Direct Services
  2. Training
  3. Research and Development
  4. Community Information and Resources

Direct Services

Programs to Develop Family Functioning

Family programs can encompass a broad spectrum of services. At the core of the programs offered to families are the Nurturing Parenting Programs®. The Nurturing Programs are proven approaches for building nurturing parent/child and teen interactions.

Each FNC is expected to offer the Nurturing Parenting Programs throughout the year in addition to family-based programs unique to their area or specific to a population – as long as the programs adhere to the overall philosophy of nurturing. Such programs could encompass, but not be limited to, educational and support programs for foster and adoptive families, single-parent families, parents of children with handicaps, families experiencing incest and/or sexual abuse, parents with special learning needs, families experiencing domestic violence, and/or families in recovery from drug addiction.

Programs to Develop the Self

Individual group-based programs for adults, teenagers, or school-age children designed to enhance self-nurturing can also take on a variety of themes. The focus of such programs should be self-empowerment; building and maintaining positive self-esteem and self-concept; protecting oneself from unwanted interactions; drug use prevention, proper information on sex, sexuality, pregnancy and pregnancy delay; and importance of family and peers. Such programs could encompass, but not be limited to, recreation and leisure programs designed to increase an individual’s effective use of free time; dancercise, yoga and exercise classes for children, teens, adults, and the elderly, and classes on proper nutrition, creative dance, and self-expression through arts.

Programs to Increase Nurturing in Preschool Children

A significant aspect of the direct services offered by the FNC is a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and innovative program for preschool children birth – five years and their parents. The preschool program is designed to promote individual, family, and community health through a six-step curriculum helping children to:


The second component of the Family Nurturing Center involves training for professionals and paraprofessionals in enhancing their awareness, knowledge, skills, and ability to implement effective strategies and programs for targeted audiences. The training component of the FNC involves five specific features:

A. Training workshops sponsored by the FNC. Staff at the FNC conduct and sponsor three to five-day workshops held at the FNC. Professionals throughout the area, state, region, and county are solicited to participate in such intensive workshops. The areas of workshops may include:

B. Training workshops for other agencies. Upon request, staff at the FNC are also available to conduct training seminars and workshops on location at sites throughout the country.

C. Training at state and national conferences. Staff at the FNC is encouraged to present information about the FNCs activities, programs, or policies at state and national conferences.

D. Practica training site. The FNC may also serve as a pre-service training site for students completing a field internship or practica requirement for their degree program. Fields of study that may be appropriate for FNC placement are (but not limited to) psychology, education, psychiatric medicine, social work, child development, juvenile justice, adult corrections, and marriage and family therapy.

E. Community Training. The fifth feature of the training component involves volunteers and community members learning new skills and attitudes. Some examples include babysitting classes for teenagers, CPR classes, etc.

Research and Development

A strong feature of the FNC is its adherence to offer only validated programs and services that have proven effectiveness through research and evaluation. Gathering data to assess the impact of services is an ongoing FNC process. Information relative to the effectiveness of the FNC’s programs is invaluable in seeking and submitting funding requests from government, private and public funding sources.

Community Information and Resources

Information regarding families, health, family dysfunction, other available family community services, laws and pending legislation that affect children and families are often difficult for the public to obtain. The Information and Resources component of the FNC keeps current information available to the community in general.

Special features of this component of the FNC are:

Serving as a community resource also entails networking with other community agencies to provide the most comprehensive delivery of services and information.