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Belisa M. Urbina, for co-founding Ser Familia, Inc. providing coordinated multi-disciplinary family services to the Latino community.

Belisa Urbina finds pleasure in helping families work and most importantly stay together. It's one of the reasons she founded the social services program for Latino families, which happens to be the only one of its kind in Georgia

"The purpose is just to strengthen, revitalize and equip Latino families -- youth, couples and parents so that they can feel empowered in an even more harmonious and happy environment," she said.

Ser Familia provides resources in the areas of communication, counseling, domestic violence prevention and crisis management.

As a result of a lack of those resources for Georgia Latino families, Urbina says she knew she had to do something about it. So she and her husband created the program back in 2001.

"My husband and I went through a difficult time in our marriage some years ago and we received services from an organization in Puerto Rico and it helped us," she said.

The program, however, was originally started to focus on couples.

"It was a program for couples, but as the program started - right away we realized that it was going to grow fast," Urbina said.

Quickly, Urbina had to act fast in providing support for what would be an untapped market.

Just recently dozens took part in a weekly Ser Familia program at Ridgeway Charter Middle School.

The program also drives home the dangers of peer pressure for youth when it comes to drugs and alcohol. It teaches the importance of teaching kids how to communicate with their parents and managing their anger and frustration both at home and school.

And, it appears to be working.

Jacquelin Guitierrez, 12, couldn't wait to take advantage of the program with her parents.

"We didn't have communication, so we came to this program and we can now talk and have a conversation clearly and we can understand each other," said Guitierrez.

Steven Rueda admits that he was giving his mom a hard time at home for quite some time.

"This program has helped me to manage my time and be closer to her," Rueda said.

To date, Ser Familia has served more than 30,000 Latino families. The volunteer-driven organization continues to build families by focusing on communication and beyond in Hispanic households.

"I am so happy and that's what I want for the program to continue to grow - for the program to continue to serve future generations of Latinos," Urbina said.

LEARN MORE: www.ser-familia.org

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