Newsletter: March 2007

Building Relationship Skills NewsletterMarch 2007

Dear Friends,

Recent surveys indicate most teens view marriage as a goal they want to achieve some day. However, statistics about the prospects for their success are daunting – half of those that do marry will eventually divorce.

In a best case scenario, healthy relationship and marriage education would be universally available to American teens. But since this isn’t currently the case, Healthy Marriage Coalitions have developed creative approaches to getting this information to teens.

The good news is that this work is paying off! We’d like to applaud the many people doing ground breaking work in this area and share a few examples of their strategies.

  • First Things First, a non-profit organization in Chatanooga, TN committed to strengthening marriages and families, is collaborating with the local Parks and Recreation office to provide healthy teen relationship education. Julie Baumgardner, reports that their project, the Eastdale Connections Program, is serving up the incentive of free pizza and chips to 40 teens along with the Connections program. The kids keep coming back for more!  These teens serve as Ambassadors to help recruit more kids to future classes. First Things First:
  • Ken Himes, Executive Director of Friends of the Family in Corvallis Oregon reports that the Kiwanis Foundation of Corvallis provided a grant to his organization to support its healthy relationships education project.  Friends of the Family is using the funds to purchase relationship skills programs for use in local high school presentations. They will also lend the materials to teachers who wish to use them in their classes. The Kiwanis Foundation of Corvallis:
  • Michelle Shepherd of the Fresno County Healthy Marriage Coalition is working with school officials, teen parenting teachers and health education teachers in Fresno, CA to facilitate the use of youth relationship curricula in their county.  They will be making a curriucula presentation to health teachers during a teacher inservice day. The coalition will then fundraise to purchase and donate the teacher requested materials directly to teachers. Fresno County Healthy Marriage Coalition:

CBAE Application Assistance

As you know, CBAE grant applications were announced last week. We are pleased to offer you application assistance, specifically in strengthening the healthy relationships and marriage parts of your program.

The CBAE guidelines have very specific curriculum requirements. You are required to submit a “Curriculum Description” of any curricula that is used – up to six pages maximum. This information is now online at:www.BuildingRelationshipSkills.orgSimply click on the Grant Info button to find descriptions of:

  • Connections
      • Dating and Emotions
      • Relationships and Marriage
  • Love U2®
      • Relationship Smarts
      • Communications Smarts
      • Baby Smarts

We have noted compliance of our programs with both Title V (A-H) and the CBEA 13 Themes as requested in the application. We have written them in WORD for maximum flexibility for you.

CBAE guidelines provide “Priority Consideration” for programs that include cultural sensitivity, healthy marriage information, sustainability, medical accuracy and evaluation components. We have included a sheet addressing those considerations on the website as well.

To order copies of the curricula, please order from our website or call 800-695-7975.

For questions about our materials and how best to use them in your grant plans, please email Joyce Huff, Director of Outreach at

CCF – Healthy Marriage Grant AssistanceIs your organization is focusing on youth in the context of healthy relationships and marriage? Then, you can apply for funding to increase the capacity of your organization by training your staff and youth instructors in Dibble Institute programs!

Last week the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released the RFP for this year’s $50,000 Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) Targeted Capacity-Building mini-grants.  “Healthy Marriage” is one of the four Social Service Priority Areas that will be funded by this grant. Training for professional staff and volunteers is an allowable activity of the grant.

To help you write your grant, a synopsis of our programs and the research associated with them can be found at Simply click on the Grant Info button.

For more information about Dibble Institute training services, please see our website or contact Irene Varley, Director of Education at

Smart Marriages RegistrationRegistration is now open for the 2007 Smart Marriages conference, June 28 – July 1 in Denver.  Come to the conference and take advantage of the great opportunities listed below to get free training from Marline Pearson, Nancy McLaren , Char Kamper and our very own Kay Reed!  Visit register online

  • FREE full day training on Thursday, June 28!
  • #119.  “School & Youth Marriage Education” with Kay Reed, Char Kamper, Nancy McLaren and Marline Pearson. For the details, visit
  • #404. “Love U2®/TOOB” (teach out of the box) training with author Marline Pearson. on Saturday, June 30, 10:15 – 11:45am. For more details, visit
  • #516.  “One, Two…I Do and The Art of Loving Well/TOOB” (teach out of the box)-with authors Char Kamper and Nancy McLaren on Saturday, June 30, 2:45 – 4:15pm.  For more information, visit
  • P – 3. “We Have to Start With the Kids”.  Don’t miss Kay Reed’s keynote speech at the plenary session on Friday June 29, 11:45am!  Visit for the details.

Congratulations 2006 Romantic Relationship Skills Lesson Plan Search winners! Download these lessons for free!

  • First Place:Martha Kiander of Wyoming, Michigan, for “Marriage Resume”.
  • Second Place:Linda Todd of Coldwater, Michigan for “Let’s Talk About Us”.

2007 Romantic Relationship Skills Lesson Plan SearchEnter our 2007 Romantic Relationship Skills Lesson Plan Search with your own original lesson plan.

Lessons on Love. Visit and click on the video for a great article about how healthy marriage groups are using federal support to facilitate marriage education in high schools.  Watch the video – it features Marline Pearson!

CONNECTIONS Child Support Supplemental Lessons availableAt the request of the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, author Char Kamper developed a supplemental lesson for Connections: Relationships and Marriage. It can be downloaded for free at