Marriage & Parenting Education Wrap-up
This is the 3rd in a series of program summaries in the area of Family & Consumer Sciences for 2016. (If you missed the first two, they covered Diabetes Education and Health & Wellness in Hopkins County.)
One of my favorite workshops to teach is Twogether in Texas Marriage Education. This is a program recognized by the state of Texas and is deemed as being so important that the state portion of the marriage license fee is waived for engaged couples who attend the workshop.
Marriage and parenting education are recognized by the State of Texas as being vitally important to the economy and well-being of families, leading to a safer environment (Baseline Report on Marriage in the Lone Star State, Health and Human Services Commission, 2009). Marriage overwhelmingly benefits individuals, couples, families, and communities throughout the United States (National Marriage Project: The State of the Unions, 2007). The benefits of a healthy marriage seem to span almost all domains of lived experience. Children that live in the homes of those who have healthy marriages are respected and nurtured by two dedicated and loving parents.
Workshops focusing on marriage education and parenting education are held separately, while the first has a great impact on parenting. Strong marriages make strong families, and strong families make strong communities.
1) Five Twogether in Texas Marriage Education Workshops were held in 2016. Engaged couples or married couples are welcome to take part. The topics covered in the workshops include:
– Marriage expectations: What expectations does each individual bring to the relationship, either spoken or unspoken, and how does that impact the future or current marriage?
– Communication: What is each individual’s communication style – expander or contractor – and how does that play out in the relationship? Neither style is bad if used in the correct context.
– Conflict Resolution: What are the red flags exhibited in each individual? What is the response to conflict? The 10-step conflict resolution approach is reviewed.
– Money Management: How does each individual in the couple handle money? Do they know the basics in money management? The Bean Game serves as a tool for couples to plan a budget.
– Goals & Dreams: What does the couple want their marriage to look like 10, 20, 30 years down the road? Couples receive a project to complete during the workshop and share their thoughts and dreams.
– The workshop includes a combination of teaching styles – lecture, video, group activities, and group interaction.
2) A Regional Childcare Conference was conducted in partnership with Paris Junior College and Texas Workforce to reach childcare providers with required face-to-face training hours, as well as provide
resources for an effective childcare center. Texas A&M AgriLife FCS agent plays a valuable part on the planning committee and implements many of the breakout sessions each year. The 2016 workshop provided the following:
– Four hours of training provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists in Pest Management and Parks/Indoor Play areas
– Four 1-hour-long breakout sessions on seasonal crafts, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Shaken Baby, transportation, and childhood nutrition. Participants selected two sessions.
Twogether in Texas Marriage Education Workshops:
Nineteen couples (38 individuals) participated in the 2016 marriage education workshops. Upon completion of the workshop, each couple is given a certificate to save $60 upon applying for a marriage license. This came to a total savings of $1,140. Community partners included:
– Idzi Bitsy Bakery (provided cake balls), Chocolate Finale (provided chocolates)
– Master Wellness Volunteers and Family & Consumer Sciences committee prepared lunch for the couples
I am also a member of the Wedding Professionals of Northeast Texas group, which hosted a bridal fair and event tour in 2016.
Regional Childcare Conference:
The Childcare Conference had 125 in attendance, with each participant receiving 8 hours of Continuing Education Credits. This meets their face-to-face requirements. In addition, childcare providers are provided the link to access a variety of on-line courses provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. These are accepted by the State of Texas Licensing Board as credible resources. The childcare providers can take the courses at their own leisure and a certificate is available upon completion of each course.
I led two concurrent sessions on “Child Development – Ages and Stages” with 45 participating in my sessions.
In addition, the Better Living for Texans newsletter is provided on-line for daycare centers, schools, individuals, and agencies. The newsletter provides nutrition information, recipes, and family mealtime segments and reaches over 5,000 households with each edition.
Future Implications: Twogether in Texas Marriage Education workshops and Childcare Provider Workshops will continue to be conducted in Hopkins County. Dates have been set for 2017 for both events, and partnerships will remain to be a vital part of the planning and implementation of these valuable events. The next Twogether in Texas Marriage education workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 11.
Master Wellness Volunteer Training Reminder
I am now taking registrations for the 2017 Master Wellness Volunteer Training, to take place face-to-face on five consecutive Mondays, starting Monday, January 30. A hybrid option is also available upon request (part face-to-face and part on-line.) Be sure to call my office for details. More to come!
Happy New Year! Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year – Ralph Waldo Emerson