June 22, 2011—California Healthy Marriages Coalition is capitalizing upon its prominence as a national leader in Relationship and Marriage Education in a name change to Healthy Relationships California (HRC). “Since all relationships can benefit from the skills taught in Relationship Education classes,” says HRC’s president Dennis Stoica, “we hope our new name will inspire all Californians to bring these benefits to their relationships with their spouse, kids, family, friends, colleagues—everyone in their lives.”
“The skills taught in Relationship and Marriage Education courses are transformative,” says Stoica. “They help people get their needs met in relationships, they increase communication and cooperation. Everyone benefits from these skills, and with the name Healthy Relationships California we are communicating that these skills are for everyone and moving upon our expanded vision about the many social benefits that come from healthy relationships.”
While Relationship and Marriage Education are not yet household words, Stoica says society should invest in healthy relationships because there is much to be gained. The organization conducts an ongoing outcome research study on its programs which shows very positive results. “Our data show that Relationship Education is a smart, painless and highly cost-effective investment for individuals and couples of all ages and stages. And we know that healthy relationships bring numerous personal benefits—to health, work productivity, educational outcomes for kids—and reduced domestic violence, substance abuse, crime, poverty. Healthy relationships benefit everyone, in the family, in the workplace, in the community at large, and they even help reduce State and Federal budget deficits.”
The organization’s work with couples from all ethnicities, income levels, as well as marital and religious status continues through California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC) as HRC’s flagship division along with its statewide clearinghouse of Relationship and Marriage Education classes. The organizational expansion includes the Dads and Kids Initiative, focusing on the important role of a father in the lives of children, and Raising Kids TwoGether, an innovative program developed by HRC that combines the benefits of Relationship Education with Parent Education.
Visit the new Healthy Relationships California website.
Emma Karina and Eduardo Vilchez have been married for 2 years and have one daughter, Leilani. At the encouragement of their pastor they signed up for a class held at West Coast Christian Tabernacle to “learn and be guided for solutions in (their) relationship and ways to have a healthy marriage.” They completing the Marriage Education class and filled out the outcome evaluation form they received.The Vilchezes are the latest couple to win $1000 in the California Healthy Marriages Coalition Outcome Evaluation drawing.
Karin and Eduardo took Matrimonio de Clase Mundial (World Class Marriage) through AMOR de Orange County in Santa Ana, CA. When asked about their experience Karina states, “I felt very familiar with all the topics spoken in the class and found solutions to most of the conflicts that I didn’t know how to deal with. I also learned how to accept my husband as is and that I had to accept our wide culture and family differences. Most of all, I learned how to work around most of the circumstances throughout our daily agendas and even stay attracted and romantic within routine. This was a great program to attend because it greatly helped our relationship and learn more how to accept each other.”
The Vilchez family will spend their prize money on a vacation to Yosemite National Park.
Jose Luis Eusebio and his wife, Maria, met on a mission trip in Mexico and have been married for 11 years. The Eusebios have two children and are expecting a third. The Eusebios are the latest couple to win $1000 in the California Healthy Marriages Coalition Outcome Evaluation drawing. They won the award by completing a Marriage Education class and filling out the outcome evaluation form they received.
Jose said they decided to attend a class because “when the opportunity was offered we realized that it was something we needed. We have not been married for that long and it’s always interesting learning something new. With these classes I learned more.”
When asked how the workshop affected their relationship, Maria explained, “It helped us in our communication and learning how to resolve problems. Before, it was difficult to resolve situations and get to a decision. Now we can reach a solution together. Now we learned how to have communication.”
Jose added, “Sometime we live stagnate, but this class helped us to dust off our marriage. We easily fall in a routine. Now we have even more communication with each other and our kids. This class changed us.”
The Eusebios plan to put the money they won towards a much needed vacation.
Pastors are known for their charitable gifts of time and energy to help their communities; you don’t hear much about their receiving gifts, but in this case, Pastor Bryan Harris and his wife Kelly are the latest couple to win $1000 in the California Healthy Marriages Outcome Evaluation drawing. The Harrises were excited to hear that simply by spearheading something to help marriages in their church and filling out the CHMC outcome evaluation form they received this exciting win.
The Harrises have attended many marriage seminars and classes before but Kelly Harris reports: “This class (Mastering the Mysteries of Love–MML) has been the one with the most impact on my life. We learned skills that taught us how to communicate with each other in ways that we had never experienced before. (MML) taught us about the importance of non-verbal messages and how they can hurt your spouse.” The Harrises attended MML through their church, Emmanuel Temple.
Kelly and Bryan also really appreciated how much the class helped other couples open up to each other. Kelly said: “It was powerful to see all the issues that couples were facing such as the chaos that comes with babies being born and financial crises, yet the couples were working through those tough issues together. Older couples were also helping the younger ones with their own stories of how the skills helped them. It was a meaningful experience for us to discuss these pressing issues and help each other.” Pastor Harris loved the class so much that he will also be bringing the skills to the singles ministry.
The Harrises will have been married for 14 years in February and have two children. Of the win, Kelly said, “We will use our winnings to pay off some bills and it is coming at a perfect time.”
CHMC supports many quality relationship-building classes. To find out more information about Mastering the Mysteries of Love and other great classes, go to http://www.camarriage.com.
Sandy Tripple had been married for 39 years and yet was still interested in improving her marriage. When she first heard about the class Mastering the Mysteries of Love from her co-worker, she and her husband, George, signed up immediately. “My friend told me about this class that was helping her marriage. It sounded so great! I told my husband and we went to the next class. It helped us so much, we signed up for a second class,” said Sandy. Now, the Tripples are the latest recipients of the $1,000 outcome evaluation drawing.
The Tripples sought help for their 39 year marriage when they realized they needed more help communicating with each other. “My husband had a hard time opening up to me and this class helped us share our feelings privately, but in a class setting,” said Sandy. “It was great to see other couples in the class that were experiencing the same communication issues.”
Both George and Sandy benefited from Mastering the Mysteries of Love. Sandy said, “ I think there is something so powerful about sitting knee to knee and holding each other’s hands; then when you begin repeating what your partner is saying you start to see insights into your partner that you have never seen before, even after 39 years of marriage.” The Fresno based couple have experienced growth in their communication skills within their relationship, but also with other people. Tripple said, “These skills have helped us to relate to our children and our parents.”
The Tripples are grateful for winning the $1,000 prize. “This past year has been really difficult for us because of medical complications with George,” said Sandy. “This money will be a welcome windfall and be used to pay some of the bills that have resulted from George being sick.”
CHMC supports many quality relationship-building classes. To find out more information about Mastering the Mysteries of Love and other great classes, go to www.camarriage.com
Mastering the Mysteries of Stepfamilies (MMS) is a 24-hour course teaching the communication skills and stepfamily guidelines needed to build and maintain a successful, satisfying step-marriage and stepfamily. Why should couples in a stepfamily attend a program like MMS? The divorce rates for stepfamilies is upwards of 65%. The main reason cited is because stepfamilies have significantly more stress than first families. Stepfamilies have to deal with multiple sets of expectations, stepparent/child relationships, compromising on traditions, and extremely sensitive boundaries in addition to normal marital strain.
Jim and Sheri are just one couple who have the opportunity to see their relationship and stepfamily transform with the help of MMS. This is the fourth marriage for both, whom have been married for ten years.
They have spent years struggling with the same problems many stepfamilies deal with: frustration with step-related issues, disillusioned with the marriage, and locked into their own positions on issues. Over time, they built a wall of distance and distrust. Research indicates lack of empathy as one of the key factors in stepfamily failure.
Jim and Sheri recently participated in a Mastering the Mysteries of Stepfamilies class where they learned how to “become” their partner in order to think and feel the concerns and desires of the other partner. Empathy has brought about a softening in Jim and Sheri’s positions enabling them to work on solutions that seemed impossible at one time. Learning and practicing better communication methods as well as recognizing some of the stepfamily guidelines that were being violated, brought renewed hope for the lifetime success of their marriage and family.
Jim states, “This is communication on steroids!” Sheri adds, “When I sense that Jim really gets me—hears and understands my needs—I relax…and feel a rush of love for him. In addition, the skills I’ve learned have helped to improve my relationship with my step-children.”
Since learning and using communication skills and stepfamily guidelines, Jim and Sheri’s marriage is becoming the happy marriage they had always hoped for but did not know how to create.
The question is commonly asked of Community Day High School in Santa Ana teacher Michael Gonzales. This summer, Hispanic community healthy families organization, AMOR de Orange County (AOC) has been partnering with area youth programs to educate teenagers on vital information.
The program taught, Love U2, is a series of units that help young people acquire practical skills for emotionally healthy and ethically sound relationships. Some of the seven principles are “Don’t try to change someone into someone he or she is not.” “Don’t play games, be phony, or pressure someone.” “Expect respect. Have standards for what you expect.”
While participating, students discuss a scene or social issue, then work through healthy and productive ways to handle the situation.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, high schools, and junior high schools have all held the seminars. One of the most successful events was held at the Community Day High School in Santa Ana troubled youth were 75% of the students are adjudicated. The full school of 110 students participated in the eight-classroom program. AOC executive director, Ariel Meza, states, “The kids have been kicked out of their schools, they are on their last leg. The next stop is juvenile hall. We get a chance to reach then in the midst of their hopelessness.”
At the six week Love U2 event, Friday evening provided a night of fun with music, bands, and even a car show. There are guest speakers ranging from gang intervention specialists to reformed convicts. Then the students have break out session. The next day is when the more intensive seminar was taught.
Gonzales, who has been working with at-risk students for seven years, said,
“It was a grand, beautiful event. The students responded positive were joyous about the occasion. They students really liked the content of the lessons. They didn’t realize the different dynamics of relationships and dating and the stuff that can get them in trouble. They accepted wholeheartedly the lessons and concepts. It was addressing their needs, issues, problems, traumas, and experiences in a safe environment. In the end, after the 8 lessons, it was a progressive learning experience for them, by the last lesson they were completely silent. Getting them to listen is how know you did something good their. I have calls from parents asking us to come back.”