Newsletter: July 2008

Building Relationship Skills NewsletterJuly 2008

  • Compelling new research with action steps
  • Join the Dibble team!
  • Unplanned pregnancy and family instability
  • The importance of good friendships to teens
  • 3rd Annual Romantic Relationship Skills Lesson Plan Search
  • Upcoming Dibble Institute trainings and workshops

Dear Friends –

Compelling new research fresh from the California Healthy Marriages Coalition and Rutgers University highlights just how big the gap is between the marriages and relationships adults and teens say they want, and actual marriage trends. It also points to what we can do to bridge this gap.  These reports contain a wealth of information you can use to generate support for your work with teens.

The 2008 California Marriage Baseline Survey unveiled this month shows that a substantial majority of the California population, regardless of differences in gender, income or age believes:

  • Divorce is a serious national problem

  • All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised in a household that has a married mother and father

  • All couples considering marriage should be encouraged to get premarital education or marriage preparation before they marry

  • Relationship education should be offered in schools

The 2007 State of Our Unions Report, by David Popenoe and Barbara Defoe Whitehead of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, states that the “great majority of American high school seniors still want to get married, with 82 percent of girls and 70 percent of boys recently saying that “having a good marriage and family life” is “extremely important” to them.

But Popenoe and Whitehead go on to say that long-term trends point to the gradual weakening of marriage as the primary social institution of family life. One reason they cite, “…as high schoolers reach young adulthood, when the attraction of cohabitation and careers gains strong currency, making the actual commitment to marriage is not easy.“

They conclude “Young people need, therefore, to be made continually aware of the many benefits married life brings, both for themselves and for their children….This evidence should become a regular part of our educational programs and our public discourse“.  “…empirical evidence is now strong and persuasive that a good marriage enhances personal happiness, economic success, health, and longevity”.

If proactively setting your teens up for success in their dating relationships and providing sound foundations for future healthy marriages is a priority for you, the Dibble Institute is here to help! For great resources, visit our website and catalog where we offer you excellent materials from leading educational publishers, as well as our own curricula.  All meet our stringent standards for research-based content and best teaching methods – with no religious or political bias.

With all good wishes,

Kay ReedExecutive Director


Join The Dibble Institute Team!

The Dibble Institute is seeking Outreach Educator and Trainers to:

• Speak before large groups at educational conferences,• Train teachers and other instructors in Dibble Institute materials,• Exhibit Dibble Institute materials at conferences,• Present the case for marriage and the need for youth relationship education.

We are looking for articulate, organized Family and Consumer Science professionals who are well versed in marriage research and trends, able to travel, and capable of achieving successful results with a minimum of supervision. Prior successful teaching experience with either the Connections or Love U2 programs is essential.

Feel free to download a complete job descriptionIf you feel you have the skills and experience to succeed in this challenging position, please send your cover letter and resume to Irene Varley, Director of Education. Please, no telephone calls.


Unplanned Pregnancy and Family Instability

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has issued a compelling new Science Says research brief that documents how parents with children from an unplanned pregnancy “are less likely to be in a committed relationship, less likely to move into a more formal union, and more likely to have high levels of relationship conflict and unhappiness”.


The Importance of Good Relationships to Teens

Research cited in the June 18 issue of Connect With Kids argues that “one of the best indicators of how well adjusted we will be as adults is not based on IQ or grades in school, but the degree to which the child has good friendships”, according to Dr. Nick Long, adolescent psychologist. A wonderful tip sheet for parents, prepared by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, outlines what parents can do to help their teens.


Our 3rd Annual ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP SKILLS LESSON PLAN SEARCH is underway! We are seeking creative, original lesson plans dealing with any aspect of romantic relationships or marriage. Entries which are easy to teach and are based in current research are encouraged. The competition is held to help teens learn how to navigate their romantic lives and to encourage the educational leaders who teach these essential healthy relationship skills to teens.

Send or FAX your entry to:The Dibble InstitutePO Box 7881Berkeley, CA 94707-0881972-226-2824 FAX

The first place winner will receive a Dibble Institute gift certificate good for $500 in educational materials; second place winner will receive a gift certificate for $250; and third place winner will receive a gift certificate for $125. Runners up will receive Dibble Institute gift certificates for $50.

The deadline for all entries is September 1, 2008. Judging will be completed by November, 2008. All winning entries will become the property of The Dibble Institute and will be available to the public. None of the entries will be returned. You can learn more about the contest and download an application to submit your own original lesson.

For more information, please contact Joyce Huff at (800) 695-7975 or joyce@dibbleinstitute.org. Good luck!


Upcoming Dibble Institute trainings and workshops:

July 22Kentucky Community Action GroupFrankfort, KYOverview of all Dibble Institute programsTrainer: Irene Varley

July 24North Carolina Family Consumer SciencesGreensboro, NCTrainer: Joyce Huff

July 28Iowa Family Consumer SciencesAmes, IAEssential Disciplines and Relationship Smarts PLUS workshop and exhibitTrainer: Joyce Huff

July 28Ohio Family Consumer SciencesColumbus, OHEssential Disciplines TrainingTrainer: Diana Leigh, Ph.D. and Irene Varley

July 30Nevada Association of Consumer and Technical Educators, Professional DevelopmentHorizon Casino ResortLake Tahoe, NV.Overview of all Dibble Institute programsPresenter: Kay Reed

August 3-9Texas Family Consumer Sciences ConferenceDallas, TXRelationship Smarts PLUS and Essential Disciplines workshopsTrainers: Jessica Pool and Joyce Huff

August 3-6Virginia Association of Consumer and Technical EducatorsRoanoke, VARelationship Smarts PLUSTrainers: Marline Pearson and Carol Jackson

August 6-8Ohio Family Consumer Sciences ConferenceColumbus, OHTrainer: Irene Varley

September 12The Forest InstituteSpringfield, MOCharlene Kamper

Sept. 26Indiana Family Consumer Sciences Training DayIndianapolis, INConnections and Relationship Smarts PLUSTrainer: Irene Varley

October 12Michigan FCSEMLansing, Michigan

November 12 – 14Michigan Family Consumer SciencesLansing, MIEssential Disciplines and Relationship Smarts PLUS WorkshopsTrainer: Irene Varley

December 3 – 6National ACTECharlotte, NCJoyce Huff


The Dibble Institute for Marriage Education is a nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to helping young people learn skills that enable successful relationships and marriages. We serve as a nationwide advocate and resource for youth marriage education. We develop, publish, and distribute materials that help teens learn healthy relationship skills.

Our research based, best practice, developmentally appropriate programs – being taught across the country – teach students the skills and knowledge that are central to building and maintaining healthy romances and, eventually, marriages.  Curricula are easily adapted to classroom, church, community, agency and youth group settings and are appropriate for Family and Consumer Science, career prep and English teachers; youth agency workers; independent living coordinators; abstinence and teen pregnancy prevention workers; camp and after school program staff; Healthy Marriage, CBAE, and Head Start grantees; youth pastors; social workers; and parents.

The Dibble Institute is nonpartisan and nonsectarian. Our activities are funded through sales of educational materials and services and through support from foundations, corporations and individuals.