Since our founding in 1996, Dibble has spearheaded efforts to build awareness and utilization of relationship skills programs for youth. Some of our accomplishments include:

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has added both Love Notes and Relationship Smarts PLUS to their Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions. This means they are now eligible to be funded by the state.

(Ed. Note: Please let us know if you would like to review copies of these proven programs.)

The Dibble Institute earned a 2019 GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency by sharing our key metrics and highlighting the difference we are making. Check out our updated GuideStar profile: Guidestar Profile

2017 Revere Awards FINALISTLove Notes Named Finalist for Best Learning Resources from Association of American Publishers

The Dibble Institute received its sixth AAP award with a 2016 REVERE Award for Love Notes.

Berkeley, CA; April 4, 2017 – The Dibble Institute is honored to announce that Love Notes: Relationship Skills for Love, Life, and Work, written by Marline E. Pearson, MA, was named a REVERE Awards finalist in Classroom: Supplemental ResourcesSocial-Emotional And Character Learning.

In the company of a diverse group of innovative and rich educational resources, Love Notes’ achievement shows its exceptional quality for helping young people learn how to successfully build healthy romantic relationships.

For more than 50 years, the REVERE Awards (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources) have identified the best content for educating learners on any platform – print, digital, or blended. The REVERE Awards evaluation process is rigorous with both educator and industry professional judges evaluating each entry.

The Revere Award judges commented:

Love Notes is EXCEPTIONAL. If only this was required in all middle schools. This is what Sex Education should be. Teens don’t want a clinical view; they want a REAL life view.

This is wonderfully put together, without judgment. It’s not preachy; it’s just real life. It talks to the students where they are at.

This curriculum is doing a great service to our young teens. Think of the students who have few life experiences, this curriculum would help prepare them for what they may encounter in the future and how to cope.

This could be a great curriculum to use with high-risk teens to help navigate some of the more difficult parts of growing up— developing intimate relationships.

Overall, the activities and scope of the curriculum would likely be high interest and engaging for the intended audience. The slides and activities would lead to important discussions and ideas for students to consider as they become more and more adult.

“Being honored for the sixth time by AAP for producing an outstanding learning resource is a prestigious and special achievement for The Dibble Institute We strive to create content that is significant to a meaningful educational experience. By being named a finalist for the REVERE Awards, Love Notes is highlighted as a product that does just that, helps students learn,” Kay Reed, Executive Director of Dibble noted.

Since 2009, The Dibble Institute’s programs have received six Association of American Publisher Awards:

  • Relationship Smarts PLUS (first edition) – 2009
  • Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships (first edition) – 2010,
  • Things to Know Before You Say Go Activity Book – 2012
  • Relationship Smarts PLUS (revision) – 2014
  • Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships (revision) – 2015
  • Love Notes – Relationship Skills for Love, Life, and Work – 2016

Love Notes Instructor's Manual Cover v2.1

Love Notes Shown Effective In Preventing Teen Pregnancy

The Dibble Institute is thrilled to announce that its relationship skills program, Love Notes, has been added to list of teen pregnancy prevention Evidence Based Programs (EBP) maintained by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Love Notes was included based on statistically significant decreases in sexual activity, increases in contraceptive use, and avoidance of pregnancy.

“We are pleased that we now have proof that relationship skills education is an effective strategy to prevent teen pregnancy”, Kay Reed, Executive Director of The Dibble Institute noted. “It’s great to have a new approach that works, especially with high-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 19.”

Love Notes, a comprehensive healthy relationship education curriculum, teaches young people how to build healthy romantic relationships as well as how to preventing dating violence and avoid unprotected sex. Love Notes was evaluated in CHAMPS (Creating Healthy Adolescents through Meaningful Prevention Services), a 5-year $4.8 million study through the Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville. Anita Barbee, Ph.D. was the Principal Investigator.

The study consisted of a cluster-randomized trial involving over 1,400 youth. Stringent data analyses examined data from 933 at-risk, low-income youth including urban, foster, refugee, and immigrant participants who were recruited from 23 community-based organizations.

The study found that six months after the instruction, adolescent participants were significantly less likely than youth in the control group to report ever having had sex, ever having been pregnant, having had sex in the last three months, and having had sex with out a condom or without birth control in the last three months. At one year, participants were less likely, by a significant measure to have not become pregnant. (Control = 6.4% vs. Love Notes 3.5%).

Dr. Barbee commented, “After decades of studying relationships, I thought teaching pregnancy prevention skills in the context of learning how to form and maintain healthy romantic relationships could really make a difference. I’m gratified to say that my hunch was correct.”

She went on to say, “We chose to study Love Notes to see how the intervention would work with disenfranchised youth searching for meaningful connections such as those from oppressed minorities living in poverty, those living in foster care, and those who are refugees from war torn countries. It worked well with all those populations.”

The EBP review findings were recently updated to cover research released from July 2014 to August 2015. As part of this update, the review team identified and assessed evidence for 16 new programs. Seven of these 16 programs met the review criteria for evidence of effectiveness, showing evidence of a favorable, statistically significant program impact on at least one sexual risk behavior or reproductive health outcome of interest to increase the list of Evidence Based Programs to 44. Love Notes, which shows impact on three outcomes, is only one of six programs on the list to show efficacy in preventing pregnancy.


How To Thrive

Dibble Goes to the UK with Healthy Minds Project

The Dibble Institute is pleased to announce that Relationship Smarts PLUS has been selected to be part of the Healthy Minds Project, an innovative research project in the UK.

How to Thrive, in partnership with the London School of Economics, selected Relationship Smarts PLUS (RQ+) as one component in its national research project because RQ+ is part of the SAMSHA list of evidence based programs.

Healthy Minds is a unique research project that contributes to understanding of how students can be supported to develop emotional resilience and self-efficacy alongside their academic development. The aim is to teach lessons as part of the core curriculum that will enable students to navigate the world within and beyond school and to thrive and flourish.

The Healthy Minds study is tracking 10,000 students from 34 secondary schools over four years in a randomized control study. Relationship Smarts PLUS instruction will take place in years two and three.


RQplusCover-v3.0Adolescent Dating Aggression Attitudes and Behavior: Relationship Smarts PLUS Makes a Difference

Romantic relationships offer many positive developmental opportunities for adolescents. Most importantly they provide a context for identity and intimacy development.

Despite, the capacity for facilitating healthy development, romantic relationships also can include experiences of jealousy, possessiveness, and relationship violence. Dating aggression in adolescent relationships is of concern given the effects it can have on adolescent development and adjustment, as well as patterns established that can affect functioning and outcomes well into the future.

This paper examines the effectiveness of Relationship Smarts PLUS to increase disapproval of relationship aggression and reduce physical aggression perpetrated by adolescents in their dating relationships.

(Editor’s Note: This paper is the final product of the five year, $1 million dollar federally funded evaluation of Relationship Smarts PLUS at Auburn University. We would like to thank Dr. Jennifer Kerpelman, Dr. Francesca Adler-Bader, and their amazing team over the years for their pioneering research. All the papers from this evaluation may be found here.)


Healthy Marriage and Responsible FatherhoodOffice of Family Assistance –
Dibble featured in “Highlights from the Field”

Individuals, couples, fathers and mothers across the country have experienced significant positive life changes after participating in healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood programs. Click here to learn how The Dibble Institute’s grant project with disconnected youth in Los Angeles is building brighter futures.


Strengthening FamiliesStrengthening Families Curriculum Resource Guide

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, housed within the Administration for Children and Families, is pleased to announce the release of a new website: Strengthening Families Curriculum Resource Guide. The website is designed to serve as a resource guide for individuals in the Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood field; it provides information about the content of curricula commonly used by the Office of Family Assistance grantees, as well as implementation factors needed to implement a particular curriculum. To view this website, please click here.

(Editor’s Note: Based on the extensive use of our curricula in healthy marriage grants, we are pleased that five Dibble curricula are included in this guide. Take a look at Connections: Dating and Emotions; Connections: Relationships and Marriage; Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships; Love Notes; Relationship Smarts PLUS.)

News Letter Section Break

acf opre logoSnapshot of Healthy Relationship Education Programs for Youth

As part of the Youth Education and Relationship Education Services (YEARS) project, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) and Child Trends, recently published a fact sheet on youth-serving Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programs.

The fact sheet focuses on HMRE programs funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) during the 2011-2015 grant cycle that served youth ages 14-24. It outlines the total number of youth served between October 2013 and September 2014; the age, gender and racial composition of these participants; and the most commonly used curricula, program goals and expected program outcomes.

For more information about the YEARS project click here.

From Policy & Practice, a publication of the American Public Human Services Assembly

APHSABuilding Brighter Futures Helps Parents Meet Child Support Obligations

No non-custodial parent going to Child Support Services is expecting a helping hand like Building Brighter Futures (BBF). For stressed parents, the smallest acts of kindness have enormous consequences; BBF, with its encouraging environment, works powerfully. Co-parenting, relationship communication skills, and understanding what children need to thrive are just some of the topics covered by BBF over eight weeks. The Dibble Institute’s relationship curriculum “Love Notes” by Marlene Pearson is the key intervention used in BBF.

(Ed. Note: Approximately 24% of non-custodial parents participating in BBF started paying child support and all reported better communications with their children.)

The Dibble Institute Wins REVERE Award for Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships

Award from Association of American Publishers (AAP) honors The Dibble Institute for excellence in educational products

Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships Revere Award Golden Lamp Winner

Washington, DC; June 3, 2015 – The Dibble Institute is pleased to announce that Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships was named the winner for classroom supplemental resources at the REVERE Awards Gala on June 3. The award was given for the creation of Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships (HCHR), which is designed to help adolescents prepare for optimum success in relationships that are central to life. Throughout the lessons, the participants gain information and skills for improving individual wellness, self-esteem, and the ability to relate to others in healthy ways.

The REVERE (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources) Awards recognize creative resources that engage 21st century teachers and learners. Produced by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) PreK-12 Learning Group, the awards are the only of their kind to distinguish learning resources in all media, for all ages, and covering a wide array of educational subject areas and learning environments.

The Dibble Institute is dedicated to providing quality materials to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to build healthy romantic lives now and in the future. We are thrilled that the judges recognized the creativity of author, Char Kamper, who made HCHR possible.

“This year’s winners present an impressive slate of learning resources across all educational settings. While it was difficult to chose just one winner in supplemental resources we were excited to present a REVERE Award to The Dibble Institute for Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships” said REVERE Awards Judge and Awards committee chairperson, Eric Hamilton, Assistant Director, NCSLET Administration at the American Museum of Natural History.

Award winners were evaluated through in-person events and remote judging by 100 evaluators in the education and publishing industries. Along with comments and recommendations given by judges, key principles that drove the evaluation of winners were: quality content and design, audience engagement and appropriateness, usability and originality, and effectiveness. For a full list of winners, click here. Also visit the Awards Gallery which features 2015 winners and finalists.

Relationship Smarts PLUS Wins Association of American Publishers Award

Judges comments included, “Wow! This curriculum beautifully, honestly and realistically explains the relationship process in easy to understand and remember terms. It not only engages (teens) in building their critical thinking skills and goal setting, but it also hits all the important points of current teen life.”

Relationship Smarts PLUS is listed in the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). In 2005 the program was selected for a 5-year, million dollar federal evaluation study at Auburn University. During the study, author, Marline Pearson and researcher, Jennifer Kerpelman, Ph.D. worked and reworked Relationship Smarts PLUS based on student results and teacher comments to focus in on the essential messages and the most effective ways to deliver them.

Outcomes from the study indicate that young people who participated in the Relationship Smarts PLUS program were more knowledgeable about what was and was not healthy in relationships, held more realistic relationship beliefs, had improved conflict management skills, and expressed an increased openness to taking relationship education classes in the future.

REVERE Awards Winner 2014

In the Distinguished Achievement Awards (DAAs), entries are subject to a rigorous judging process consisting of three rounds of review by teachers and leading experts throughout the industry. Three key principles–quality content, age appropriateness, and innovation–drive the judging criteria and evaluation process. The semi-finalists in the Life Skills and Character Education Resources were Emotional ABC’s and Sesame Workshop.Since 2009, Dibble Institute’s programs have received four Distinguished Achievement Awards; Relationship Smarts PLUS (first edition) – 2009;Healthy Choices, Healthy Relationships – 2010, Things to Know Before You Say Go Activity Book – 2012, and Relationship Smarts PLUS (revision) – 2014.

The Dibble Institute has been selected to be part of the S&I 100 Index, a web-based platform consisting of a cohort of top-performing, scaling nonprofits.ST100The S&I 100 Index consists of high-impact nonprofits that have been carefully vetted through a comprehensive selection process.  More than 150 experts participated in a cross-sector collaborative effort to identify and assess the nonprofits that have been selected to be part of the Index.The Dibble Institute was selected because of our:

  • Impact – We have effective, high-impact interventions serving large numbers of individuals in need.
  • Growth – We are expanding to serve more people nationally with our successful programs.
  • Evidence – We have demonstrated impact validated by third-party studies available on our site.

Relationship Smarts PLUS listed in National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

Love U2®: Relationship Smarts PLUS: NREPP Winner
(November 2012) The Dibble Institute is pleased to announce that Relationship Smarts PLUS (RQ+), developed by Marline Pearson, is now listed as one of the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NREPP is a searchable database of interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental and substance abuse disorders. SAMHSA has developed this resource to help people, agencies, and organizations implement proven, evidence-based programs in their communities.

All programs listed on NREPP go through an extensive review process and are rated on their quality of research and on readiness for dissemination. RS+ received high scores on the quality of research (2.75 on a scale of 0-4.0), and a high score (2.8) for readiness and dissemination.

The application process was exhaustive. Huge credit for this accomplishment goes to Professor and Associate Dean at Auburn University, Dr. Jennifer Kerpelman, for spending six plus years conducting random, experimental design research on RQ+ with academic colleagues. Without her tireless work on the evaluation and NREPP application, this would not have become a reality.

Being listed on NREPP gives organizations wishing to teach RS+ the ability to apply for funds when evidence based programs are required. This is an important accomplishment for RS+, and we are very proud to be listed on NREPP’s list of evidence-based programs.

Click here for the NREPP RQ+ profile.

Money Habitudes™: EIFLE Award

April 19, 2012 (Press Release) – The Dibble Institute and LifeWise Strategies announce that their collaboration, Money Habitudes: How To Be Rich in Life & Love, has won this year’s Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award for Children’s Education Program of the Year in the Financial Responsibility and Decision Making category. Awards were presented at this week’s Annual Conference on Financial Education, held in Orlando.

The EIFLE financial education award is bestowed by the Institute for Financial Literacy. It acknowledges innovation, dedication, and the commitment of those that support financial literacy education. Money Habitudes: How To Be Rich in Life & Love: A curriculum about money and relationships, introduces teens to the human, emotional side of money. With a behavioral economics approach, the teen financial literacy curriculum is an important precursor to financial literacy courses. The engaging personal finance curriculum helps teens identify their personal finance patterns, how these affect their goals and relationships, and ways to use this financial self-assessment to be more successful.

Things To Know Before You Say “Go” Named Winner in 2012 AEP Awards Honoring Excellence in Learning Resources

(Berkeley, CA)—June 6, 2012—The Dibble Institute and Courage To Bloom are pleased to announce that their collaboration, Things To Know Before You Say “Go” Activity Book, has been named the winner of the 2012 Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) Distinguished Achievement Award for Supplemental Resources in Life Skills and Character Education. Distinguished Achievement Awards honor the best in a range of product types and resources used by teachers, parents, and students. Runners up in this category were Girl Scouts of the USA and Youth Communications.


  • Dibble has developed more than a dozen curricula and other programs addressing teen relationship skills.
  • Through our online bookstore, we distribute an additional 50 educational resources from other publishers, all carefully reviewed for quality and content.

Outreach and audience

  • Dibble programs reach over 100,000 students annually in all 50 states. They are used at public and private schools, after school programs, community youth programs, youth agencies, health clinics, juvenile justice locations, workforce programs, and more.
  • We exhibit at more than 40 educator conferences annually, reaching more than 3,500 instructors annually. We also make presentations at regional educator meetings, universities, and other organizations.
  • We have consulted with The Brookings Institute, RAND, The Urban Institute, The Institute for American Values, Child Trends, and The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.

Grants/Funding Partners

Dibble’s grant and funding partners have included:

  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • CCEO YouthBuild
  • LA County Child Support Services
  • National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • US Department of Health and Human Services; Administration for Children and Families
  • YouthBuild
  • Anne E. Casey Foundation
  • Coalition for Marriage, Couples, and Family Education
  • ChildBuilders
  • Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Washington, Virginia, and Texas Departments of Education
  • Public Strategies, Inc.



Our programs have been evaluated in numerous research studies and professional journals, including:

  • Journal of Adolescence
  • National Center for Family and Marriage Research (Bowling Green State University)
  • Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education (Auburn University)
  • Education Digest