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2024 NARME Workshops

Workshops (A)
Monday, June 24th- 10:15a-11:15a

Kristin Orphan & Mark Orphan

Strengthening Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families

Description There is a unique and growing population of families among us. They are foster, adoptive, and kinship families. People who have opened their homes to children and youth who come from difficult backgrounds. The needs of these families are distinct and require specialized consideration and resources. This workshop provides a proven and effective model of serving this population. Strengths-based curriculum coupled with a well thought out delivery method will be explained.

Sara Murry, Mariana Falconier, Zeinab (Sarah) Azizi, Jessica Fish, & Sarah Fritz 

TOGETHER Program LGBTQ+ Adaptation

Description The TOGETHER Program is a University of Maryland Research Project that provides free relationship and financial education workshops for couples. Since 2015, TOGETHER has enrolled over 1,300 couples and received $11.4 million in federal funding/HMRF (Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood) grants. Given long-standing economic disparities and unique relationship stressors, the TOGETHER program was recently adapted for LGBTQ+ couples. In this workshop, we present the (1) process of adapting this evidence-informed relationship education workshop for LGBTQ+ couples and (2) results from our initial pilot of the program, including results from our implementation (e.g., feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness) and outcomes assessment. To adapt the program for LGBTQ couples, the TOGETHER team consulted with a range of LGBTQ+ family experts and engaged in specialized LGBTQ+ training to adapt the program in four key areas: (1) We revised the program curriculum (content, language, examples) to center on the experience of LGBTQ+ people; (2) we hired LGBTQ+ facilitators, and program staff underwent a series of LGBTQ+-specific trainings; (3) we identified and integrated additional LGBTQ+-affirming resources, referrals, and agencies to ensure adequate support; (4) we modified our marketing strategies, including the development and strengthening of partnerships with LGBTQ+ community organizations. The workshop will engage participants in activities to help raise awareness of and access tools that inform strategies to adapt relationship education programs to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Attendees will learn about adapting programs for LGBTQ+ participants, practice applying the principles of cultural humility, and resources to help make their programs more LGBTQ+ inclusive.

Alan J. Hawkins

A Model State Legislative Agenda to Strengthen Marriages and Families

Description Public policy has an important role in strengthening marriages and families. And it can do much to support the work of relationship educators and other professionals, especially for more disadvantaged individuals and families. As Kearney’s (2023) important new book documents, healthy and stable two-parent families confer a distinct and significant social and economic advantage on children. They also can substantially reduce the public costs associated with family instability. Accordingly, the NARME Board of Directors is considering recommending model legislation for states to strengthen marriages and families to support a core public policy goal of increasing the proportion of children growing up in two-parent families with parents in a healthy, stable marriage. This includes increasing the marriage rate (forming healthy marriages), decreasing the divorce rate (reducing unnecessary divorces), and creating feasible policies to help families when healthy two-parent families are not a reasonable option. In this session, we will explore a proposed document setting out six strategies to accomplish this core public policy goal.

Heather Carlile

Using the Enneagram for Relationships

Description This workshop offers a practical step-by-step introduction to the best personality assessment instrument with a growth basis. Participants identify their personality style through the Enneagram Quick Test and learn how to accurately identify a person’s Type even when the top score is inaccurate. They will see how to draw a Mastery Map with all nine scores and then create an overlay composite portrait of the two personalties in a relationship.

Catherine Wood

Generations - Your Secret to Success!

Description Encouraging youth to explore their history can provide knowledge of their longings to belong and know who they are and where they can go from here. Moments determine destiny, and research shows we have a lot to learn. Even if youth have no idea who their family is, there are hints to explore at least the five or six living generations. We believe they will find a goldmine of information that will help them make better decisions for their future and their own family formation. We will also share a unique way for young people to learn more about the greatest generation and their impact on our way of life. The goal of this workshop is to assist youth with forming strong families in the future.

Leah McCoy

Lets Talk About Sex, The Sweetest Taboo: Examining the Impact of Sexual Messages on Marital and Sexual Satisfaction in African American Relationships

Description Romantic relationships can be one of the most significant connections in one’s life with sex being an integral factor. Despite research showing the multifaceted benefits of marriage, African Americans are among the highest reported divorce and never-married statistics in the US. Various sociocultural experiences such as the impact of racism, residual effects of slavery, economic instability, marital expectations, gender-based double standards, and cultural discrimination, continue to produce detrimental effects on these marriages, sexual relationships, and satisfaction levels. Thus, threatening the longevity and survival potential of African American relationships. The limited positive research available on healthy African American marriages and sexual health often leads to the overpathologzing of African Americans, their mental health concerns, and their relationships. Implications of this research will be shared to highlight strategies to assist in decreasing the stigma and judgment around sex to increase relational preparedness and help-seeking behaviors for marital and sexual-related concerns within this community. This presentation aims to combat the dearth of information on African American relationships to aid in the development of culturally relevant evidence-based therapeutic strategies and transform the manner clinicians therapeutically support African American relationships.

Workshops (B)
Monday, June 24th- 11:30a-12:30p

Ronde Walch & Melody Barenbrugge

Increase participation by building partnerships in the “Goldilocks zone”: A Top-down, Grassroots Approach

Description An often central challenge in bringing evidence-based healthy relationship skills to target populations is finding and collaborating with partners willing to allow space to facilitate at suitable locations. Most programs use a top-down approach where project directors and managers seek out and build relationships with partners for the purpose of implementing courses. But a key issue with this approach is that educators often have minimal contact with site upper management. This may limit the development of a relationship with the partners necessary to retain sites and to ensure that specific site needs are met.

Lauren Reitsema

The Blueprint for Life Success

Description Human thriving depends on relational health, yet people are often left to figure out how to establish healthy relationships without a road map. Technology enables access to limitless information; however, information alone is not enough to change behavior. Like any other skill, managing human relationships requires knowledge, resources, and information, and each must be practiced and applied. What we learn about relationships is often gained solely through observation of other people. Unfortunately, the patterns we observe are not always healthy ones. This form of learning leaves generations vulnerable to repeating toxic cycles and robbing themselves of the experience of deep, and loving relationships. This content fills the gap by providing tools and guidance for developing healthy connections.

John Van Epp & Morgan Cutlip

How Grantees Can Customize Relationship Content with Interconnecting Courses

Learn about a customizable course that will better meet participant needs, increase staff retention, and improve ROI. One frustration grantee educators often experience partway through a multi-year grant cycle is burnout from teaching a single grant-approved program. This can lead to staff turnover, which increases programmatic costs and creates delays from the long process of hiring and training a replacement. The second frustration is an increased awareness of needs that exist within their population that are not being addressed by that grant-approved program. Relationship programs are typically siloed according to three populations: fathers, youth, and couples with the primary focus within each silo on different relationship types (e.g., youth programs focus on friendships, dating, and partner selection; fatherhood programs on parenting and co-parenting; couple programs on marriage). Consequently, the courses offered in each silo address relationship issues and skills related to that silo’s primary focused relationship type(s). However, over time, grantee educators often discover that their population is struggling with meaningful concerns that are addressed in another silo but not in their approved curriculum. It is this frustration that The RAM Course Collection for Healthy Dating, Coupling, & Parenting® attempts to resolve. Grantees can customize their curriculum from three evidence-based, 8- to 12-hour courses, one from each silo, that have been utilized by ACF grants since 2005, but now can be taught independently or in a sequence. These three “flagship” courses are PICK for youth & emerging adults; LINKS for couples; and Home Run Dads for fathers or parents. Each of the three flagship courses are formatted around the Relationship Attachment Model® (RAM) which proposes that all relationship types share the same five relational bonds, therefore creating a common conceptual framework for combining these courses into a unified whole or teaching them in a sequence. In addition, a dozen short modules that do a deep dive into a specific topic are also included in this collection and can be integrated into the grantee’s customized course as needed. An example of customizing a curriculum for fathers from The RAM Course Collection is to combine the RAM fatherhood course, Home Run Dads with either the RAM course PICK for healthy dating and life-partner selection to then be taught to uncoupled fathers, or the RAM course LINKS for committed/married couples, to be facilitated to the coupled fathers. Many who work in the fatherhood space would agree, “As goes the partnering, so goes the parenting.” Teaching how to be a better man and father without addressing his selection of and relationship to a life partner will neglect a major source of impact to his time, mood, emotions, energy, and involvement with his children. There is similar value for grantees to be able to customize their course to youth and couples. Because unforeseen needs continue to surface as grant educators facilitate the initial course, this customization does not occur just at the onset of the grant cycle; rather, periodic alterations can be made and validated to the customized course to better meet newly identified needs.

Carl Caton

Leading a Community Collaboration

Description It's been said that "large scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, not the isolated intervention of individual organizations." That reality is more important than ever, especially as new trends in "place based philanthropy" continue to accelerate. Place-based philanthropy enables significant donors to prioritize their commitment to regions and to collaborate with local and regional partners who are closest to their problems and know best how to overcome them. The most effective regional partners are those who know how to solve complex social problems by uniting communities around shared purpose. This workshop outlines the innovative Local Frameworks (TM) process which helps dynamic local leaders work together toward ambitious goals.

Kelly Roberts

Sacred Ground: Meta-Lessons and Revelations from 25 Years in RME

Description RME is such a multi-dimensional discipline that keeping up with developments can easily take precedence over the very important exercise of reflection. Synthesis of knowledge and our feelings about that knowledge, sense-making, and distilling core meanings are essential steps for professionals in every facet of RME. This workshop is designed for conference attendees to gain key reflections from someone who has contributed in multi-dimensional ways over a period of 25 years, and to gain a sense of their own development and key reflections as well. Specific areas covered from this long view exercise will include: (1) how technology has and is shaping marriages and intimate relationships...and how our own sense of reality is changing through this process; (2) how evidence-based approaches have changed over time and what they still may be missing; (3) how God shows up in marriage research; (4) the high calling of educators to self-actualization; and, (5) the magical mystery of metaphors in marriage. As each of these areas are unpacked, attendees will have their own opportunities to create their own sense-making along with the presentation. Special considerations for what we can now agree may be settled, and where we still need large investments of thinking and development will wrap up our time together.

Tammy Daughtry & Jay S. Daughtry

One Heart, Two Homes: Co-parenting Tools for Working with Single Parents, Stepparents, Never Married Parents and Today's Complex Families

Description In this presentation we will explore a process of education and facilitation that will help professionals who work with remarried parents and children: 1) understand the nature of attachment in the context of blended family dynamics; 2) develop an intentional process to strengthen the couple bond and 3) enhance family cohesion through "bio time," clarifying household values, family roles and expectations along with pro-active solutions that support everyone in the blended family.

Jeremy Walden

Fostering Foster Families

Description Why do 50% of foster families discontinue fostering within their first year? In this session, we'll uncover the root causes behind this trend and unveil the effective strategies employed by Promise686, a renowned Atlanta-based nonprofit. With a focus on empowerment, discover how Promise686 collaborates with over 1,300 churches across the nation, providing practical solutions to support and sustain foster families. Learn how these initiatives play a crucial role in encouraging caregivers to continue their essential work in nurturing and safeguarding our most vulnerable children.

Workshops (C)
Monday, June 24th- 2:00p-3:15p

Dennis Stoica & Carl Caton

Leading a Community Marriage Initiative

Description Dennis Stoica is a Founder of the Community Marriage Initiatives Fund (CMI Fund). He has been active in the field of Community Marriage Initiatives since 2002, when he founded the Orange County Marriage Resource Center in California. Under Dennis’ leadership and through private funding from the Philanthropy Roundtable’s Culture of Freedom Initiative (COFI) project, Dennis led a CMI project in Jacksonville, Florida which led to a 24% reduction in Duval County’s divorce rate from 2015 to 2018, The main components of this approach are: 1. Empower local churches to implement highly effective, self-sustaining marriage ministries - balanced across the three areas of Vision, Skills and Support - across all the ages and stages of the marital life cycle. 2. Implement the 3-part model of: Increase Supply, Increase Demand, and a Community Marriage Resource Center website using 3. Be funded at a significant level – ideally at the rate of one dollar per person living in the community.

James Worthy

Best Practices for Engaging Fathers in Relationship Education

Description This interactive workshop will share new resources available through the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse ( that will help programs to support dads with their mental health and to strengthen family relationships. Families often experience some level of difficulty. Discord between parents and children, tension between ex-spouses, and a lack of extended family support are issues commonly experienced. Encouraging fathers to be involved in the lives of children, biological or not, can help increase family stability. This workshop will introduce interactive tips for encouraging healthy relationships between fathers and mothers.

Mindy Scott & Matthew Rivas-Koehl

Core Components of Relationship Education: Building Blocks for Family Well-being

Description Relationship education (RE) programs are designed to support strong families; they aim to teach youth and adult individuals—as well as unmarried, married, or coparenting couples—how to communicate effectively, manage conflict, identify signs of an unhealthy relationship, and apply other skills for developing and maintaining healthy relationships. The types of skills covered in RE programs likely have wider impacts on family well-being. While findings from evaluations suggest that RE programs can be effective for some youth and adults, it remains unknown what specific program activities lead to the desired outcomes. Further, more information is needed to understand for whom those program activities work and under what contexts and conditions they work. This type of detailed understanding can help RE programs achieve desired outcomes for all participating individuals, couples, and families across a diversity of program approaches and settings. Mindy Scott and Matthew Rivas-Koehl will co-lead this workshop. Dr. Scott is an expert in RE program design, implementation, and evaluation with a focus on adult and youth-supporting programs. She currently leads the federally funded C-CORE project and previously led the Marriage Strengthening Research and Dissemination Center. Matthew is a doctoral student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Senior Research Analyst at Child Trends. Matthew’s research broadly focuses on equitable research to promote healthy relationships, with particular attention to sociocultural influences on health and wellbeing in populations such as LGBTQ+ individuals and adolescents.

Jo Anne Eason Allie Wallace, Sarah Simister, Mary Ann Slanina & Debbie Burrell-Butler

Youth Programs That Work - What is Their Secret Sauce?

Description Whether you work with youth currently or are considering expanding your programming to serve youth, our panelists will share how their programs are funded and how they work. They will also cover effective recruiting and retention tips. Plus, you will learn how they promote their programs with outreach in schools and through word of mouth, retain participants, and in some cases exceed 100% of the goals. You will see how these programs have overcome barriers to participation. Finally, the panel will share how they selected an evidence-based Dibble Institute curricula appropriate for their target audience. At the conclusion, there will be a discussion on how to prepare now for upcoming funding opportunities

Liz Shumate & Camal Pennington 

Key elements of positive impacts, the integration of research and responsive practice.

Description Family Expectations and TRUE Dads are each Oklahoma City based family strengthening programs that offer valuable services to hundreds of families each year. Family Expectations offers expecting and new parents a series of workshops that prepare couples for their new baby, strengthen their relationship, and connect parents with employment resources that will enable them to provide for their growing family. TRUE Dads, a responsible fatherhood program, is an ever evolving and now rigorously tested resource for low-income adult fathers, ages 18 and older. The purpose of TD is to help fathers strengthen three of their key family roles: to build and maintain positive engagement with their children; to create and maintain a positive relationship with their co-parenting partner; and to foster their role as provider by bolstering employment opportunities and economic self-sufficiency. In this workshop attendees will hear directly from Family Expectations and TRUE Dads program participants who will share their life changing experiences. Local staff will provide an overview of each program identifying essential content, key program workflows, evaluation findings and integral lessons learned. Presenters will share highlights and challenges of each program’s implementation. Attendees will engage in a roadmap activity that supports the creation of innovative practice strategies to reinforce sustainable program impacts.

Doug Stephens

Building Your Team To Do Dream Work

Description Serving the mission, vision and values of your organization requires excellent communication skills, especially during uncertain and evolving times. There is no question that having strong public speaking skills is a key ingredient to success in any profession, but for some , standing before an audience of any size is a nerve-wracking experience even for the most confident communicators. Nevertheless, an invitation to speak before any audience provides an excellent opportunity to promote organizational initiatives and your career. To earn the confidence of your audience, you must learn to captivate and motivate through the power of delivering an impactful message while leaving your nervousness at the door.

Workshops (D)
Tuesday, June 25th- 11:00a-12:15p

Laresha Tyler

Using Qualitative Data in Evaluation: Amplifying Youth Voice for Program Improvement

Description Hope for Miami, a Miami-based nonprofit, implements Dibble Institute’s evidence-based Relationship Smarts curriculum in school, afterschool, and summer camp programs in Miami-Dade County. Throughout 13 sessions, youth learn about and discuss topics such as relationship red flags, dating violence, sexual and reproductive health, and more. Behavioral Science Research Institute (BSRI), a local non-profit that provides applied research and evaluation, conducts the mixed-method program evaluation for both process and outcomes. As a part of said evaluation, focus groups are held with youth who have participated in the Relationship Smarts program, giving them a chance to share what they learned, their thoughts on the program, and any suggestions for how to improve it. This workshop will feature the implementation team of the previously described program sharing how they work together to use data for program improvement. The workshop’s content will focus primarily on qualitative data to show how youth voices and youth needs can be amplified during discussions of quality improvement. Additionally, the workshop will show how qualitative narratives can help better understand quantitative findings. By working as a team, implementers and evaluators can make effective data-driven changes to the program based on feedback from the participants themselves.

Washington Jackson III

Pass Me The Baton

Description Are you committed to keep this work moving forward? On Your Mark: Relationship Education will Continue to evolve and gain importance in various stages of life. Healthy Relationships are fundamental to individual and societal well-being. Join me in this interactive session, as we take a deeper dive into discussing preparation, challenges, and the need of programs across the world to spread the awareness of Relationship Education. Get Set: As this world continues to change, how should our agency, programs, and services adapt, but still hold their values and purpose? We will discuss program elements to help ensure that accessibility and inclusivity is offered in diverse populations. There is a community near you awaiting your services, and this session will inspire your creativity to provide the best program and services possible. Go: This session will be informative, fun, and inspiring. Stop by and meet my surprise guest Kaptin (Mascot)....Can the impact baton be passed to you, to serve your community your called to? See you in OKC at NARME 2024...

Jerry Regier (Moderator), Mary Myrick & Kendy Cox (Discussants) 

Contracting with the State for programming with TANF funds

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was legislatively established in 1996 with the following purposes: (1) assisting needy families so children can be cared for in their own homes or the homes of relatives; (2) reducing the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and (4) encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families. Panelists will provide details and guidance on how TANF funds have been accessed for programs in Oklahoma related to marriage, relationship education, and job development. This is a breakout focused on contracting with government, not receiving grants from government. Panelists will discuss how nonprofits can approach the state for contracts; be readied for obtaining and implementing state contracts that utilize TANF funds; what processes and expectations the State has for contractors; and what restrictions are on types of programming and projected recipients of that programming. The panelists will speak from over 25 years experience in contracting with the federal and state government.

Jerry Angelo

Converting Opportunities Into Action Through Networking & Relationships

description In this workshop we will delve into the transformative power of networking and relationships, unlocking the secrets to converting opportunities into meaningful action, particularly in the realm of ministry. We will guide attendees through a dynamic workshop designed to inspire, equip, and empower individuals to navigate the intricate landscape of opportunities through social and ministerial networks and relationships.

Lisa Ross

Marketing to the Most Difficult Demographic

Description Nothing is more difficult than marketing to under-resourced men of color ages 18-40. Where are they? What do they listen to? How do we grab their attention? What makes them want to enroll in our programs, mini clinics and workshops? How do we ensure that we are receiving a return on our investment? What matters to them? This interactive presentation delves into analytics and a ground game of connection to this difficult to reach demographic.

Nikki Anarado

How Intentional Dating Promote Healthy Dual-Parent Households

Description Unlock the secrets to bolster lasting, thriving dual-parent households in the 21st century. Join me, your guide on this journey, an experienced African American female dating preparation coach, as we explore the power of intentional dating and its profound impact on cultivating robust family foundations. In this workshop, we delve into the unique challenges and opportunities that arise in the world of modern dating. Through engaging discussions and practical exercises, we will discover how intentional dating practices can pave the way for resilient dual-parent households. Join us to connect with like-minded individuals, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and leave with a renewed sense of purpose in your efforts to create or promote strong and healthy dual-parent households. Together, let's unveil the path to lasting love and togetherness in the 21st century.

Stephanie D. McKenzie

"Is Love Your Business?!?!"

Description "Is Love Your Business" is a presentation for relationship professionals and organizations to consider the programs that they deliver and their impact on the emotional landscape overall. Presented by award-winning marketer and certified relationship/empowerment coach, Stephanie D. McKenzie, this workshop aims to debunk prevalent myths and misconceptions in relationship education and explore emerging trends and opportunities in an effort to create greater impact as well as income and sustainability for relationship professionals. A key focus will be on the principle of integrity in developing services and products geared towards relationships. It's crucial for professionals in this field to uphold ethical standards and authenticity, ensuring that their offerings not only meet the needs of their clients but also contribute positively to the broader narrative around love and marriage. In an effort to remain impactful, profitable as well as sustainable, this presentation will explore opportunities--online and offline-- to diversify, expand and enhance current offers and to create new offers that may not have been considered until now.

Workshops (E)
Tuesday, June 25th- 2:00p-3:15p

Ron & Catherine Tijerina

The Effects of Incarceration on Marriage and Parenting

Description America incarcerates more people than any other developed country in the world. The impacts of incarceration on marriage and parenting are devastating to families, communities and our nation. This workshop will inform participants about the dire statistics contributing to the breakdown of families who are justice involved and provide actionable interventions that are effective in disrupting the cycles. Participants will learn how to reach justice-impacted families and help them overcome the challenges they face in order to build strong, thriving relationships, stop generational cycles, and reduce recidivism.

Alan Hawkins (Moderator), Seth Chamberlain, Taffy Compain, & Kailiah Thomas (Discussants) and, other presenters to be identified

Lessons Learned and Future Directions for the ACF HMRF Initiative

Description In this session, a panel of HM&RF grantee practitioners will reflect on some of the important lessons they have learned over the past five years and think forward to potential fruitful directions for the next five years. Representatives of the Office of Family Assistance in the Administration for Children and Families will engage with the panelists and respond to issues raised, as they begin the challenging process of preparing the 2025 call for proposals for HM&RF programming. All summit participants with interest in seeking OFA-ACF funding to support their relationship education work will benefit from this lively session that will include ample time for quesions and discussion.

Mary Ann Slanina & Corey Odle

Healthy Relationships-What Teens Need-AND want!

Description Healthy relationship skills that today’s youth develop during adolescence can help them make positive decisions about all aspects of their lives. Knowing how to establish and maintain positive relationships can make a difference as youth make decisions related to romantic relationships, friendships, school, and work. Learn how HMRF READY4Life grantee Youth and Family Services Stronger Youth Program delivers the Dibble Institute Relationship Smarts 4.0 curriculum to help high school youth understand the importance of early education to reduce unhealthy baggage and habits in all types of relationships This presentation will explain the relationship pyramid, tools on building a healthy relationship, and the unpacking both healthy and unhealthy baggage. Learning these universal skills can create healthy habits that extend into adulthood.

Calvin Copeland

Relationship Reboot: A Path to Lasting Passion and Results

Description Unlock the secrets to lasting passion and profound connection in relationships! We will delve into the purpose of marriage and relationships. Discover how understanding these purposes can reignite your passion and lead to endless, fulfilling results.

Alan Ray & Matthew Zoller

Marriage Coaching: How to Have an Effective Program

Description This workshop will present how marriage coaching meets all the key elements of Adult Learning Theory which makes it a highly effective approach for many couples who are struggling. Attendees will learn four basic marriage coaching skills and explore ways to apply these skills and concepts to what they are currently doing.

Susanne M. Alexander & Monette Van Lith

How to Have Fun Family Meetings That Build Unity

Families thrive when there is cooperation and communication among all members. A regular family meeting can be a great way for all members to stay closely connected. Children learn life skills and feel included in the important functioning of the family, and parents gain new insights into what’s important to their children. The family then learns to function in unity together. Family meetings can be meaningful, productive, and joyful with the right tools, tips, effort, and patience. This experiential workshop teaches the skills for family meetings with members of all ages.

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