top of page



July 11 / 11:00a - 12:30p

The Sexual Mindfulness Program

Description: This workshop will introduce the idea of mindfulness within a sexual relationship. We will discuss a validated curriculum, explore some of the frequently asked questions regarding the program and sexuality, recruiting challenges, and sensitivities needed when discussing sex.

Presenter: Chelom Leavitt; Brigham Young University 

Co-Presenter: Jenna Lawlor

Using Research Findings to Address Additional Relationship Education Participant Needs

Description: A workshop focused on what research has told us are co-occurring issues with attendees of Relationship Education (e.g., psychological distress, financial distress, couple conflict) and what those research implications are for Relationship Education implementation. The second half of the workshop focuses on how to use these ideas to enhance Relationship Education implementation in practical terms (such as curriculum choice, additional activities, etc., depending on program needs, flexibility, and capacity).

Presenter: J. Scott Crapo; Utah State University 

Co-Presenter: Olena Kopystynska

Why People Leave

Description: People leave relationships for many reasons; Chuck and Ashley have developed a program to help individuals understand the human response to unmet expectations at work and home. A theory they’ve developed, Switch Theory, explores the cognitive processes that occur before people leave. Their unapologetic goal is to help people stay whenever possible. When staying is not a viable option, they believe people can leave well. In this workshop, participants will analyze their own habits in order to apply this knowledge to their work with others. Learners will apply the 3 A’s to implementing change in one’s daily life which can be incorporated in the workplace as well as in personal relationships.

Presenter: Ashley and Chuck Elliott; Elliott Life Coaching

Supporting Coparenting Relationships in Latinx Families through Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE)

Description: Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs serving couples with children aim to strengthen couples' relationships and ultimately improve family well-being. When serving diverse families, like Latinx couples or coparents, it is essential to consider culture and unique needs in the design and delivery of HMRE programming. In this workshop, we will: 1) provide an overview of coparenting and coparenting dynamics in Latinx families, 2) highlight research findings on how Latinx-serving HMRE programs address coparenting and culture, and 3) provide participants an opportunity to work together to identify strategies to increase culturally responsive HMRE programming for Latinx coparents.

Presenter: Deja Logan; Child Trends

Co-Presenter: Dr. Mindy Scott

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.” Never before has community collaboration been more important. This workshop explores the principles of effective collaboration among a wide-ranging group of actors who share a common mission and purpose. The principles will outline a systems approach for uniting people and organizations around the mission of strengthening families.

Presenter: Carl Caton; San Antonio Marriage Initiative 


July 11 / 1:45p - 3:15p

Leading Different Personalities 

Description: This workshop is designed to understand the different personalities that are in an office setting and how to effectively work with and communicate with those different personalities.

Presenter: Doug Stephens; Live the Life

Impact Findings from the Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) Evaluation

Description: Since the early 2000s, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has led a sustained effort to expand available evidence on healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs. In 2015, ACF contracted with Mathematica and its partner, Public Strategies, to conduct the Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation to help identify strategies for improving the delivery and effectiveness of HMRE programs. The evaluation has a particular emphasis on understudied populations and program approaches not covered in ACF’s prior federal evaluations. STREAMS includes in-depth process studies, random assignment impact studies, a rapid-cycle evaluation of text message reminders to improve attendance at HMRE group workshops, a formative evaluation of a facilitation training curriculum for HMRE programs for high school students, and predictive analytic modeling of attendance at HMRE group workshops.

This workshop will present findings from three of the STREAMS impact studies of programs for adult participants. All three studies used random assignment evaluation designs to assess the impacts of HMRE programming on participants’ outcomes. However, each study addressed different research questions and sought to expand available evidence on HMRE programming in distinct ways. One study examined MotherWise, a relationship skills program for women with low incomes who are pregnant or have just had a baby. This study sought to expand available evidence on the impacts of HMRE programs that serve individual adults rather than couples. A second study examined Empowering Families, an HMRE program for couples with low incomes who are raising children together. This study sought to add to prior research on programs for adult couples that integrate HMRE services with economic stability services. A third study examined a novel program that integrated content from an HMRE curriculum into an employment training program for young adults. The program was novel with respect to the mix of activities offered to program participants, the setting of program delivery, and the population served. As a group, the three studies demonstrate the many ways programs are providing HMRE services and offer evidence on the impacts of these programs.

Presenter: Brian Goesling; Mathematica

Co-Presenters: Kendy Cox and Scott Roby

"To Blend or to be Blended..."

Description: Contemporary stepfamilies are increasingly complex. It is helpful for those who work with these families to have a better understanding of the challenges they face and to be equipped with the resources to guide them through the process of stepfamily integration with greater intentionality. Kiersten’s presentation incorporates findings from both researchers and practitioners in the field, as well as insights gleaned from her work with stepfamilies and her own experience blending her family of ten children over the past 15 years.

Presenter: Kiersten Wilson; Utah State University 

That’s My Culture: An Introspective Exploration of Awareness and Sensitivity of Diverse Family Backgrounds

Description: A person’s experiences and worldview are significantly shaped by their family history and culture, which also extends to how life challenges are approached. Participants will discuss the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity by sharing their viewpoints and experiences with their own and others’ cultures. This workshop will also provide open dialogue of culture and tradition relative to their effects on the development of diverse families and communities.

Presenter: L. Michelle Ferguson; Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc.

Co-Presenter: Daniel Bell

Zooming in to Enhance Engagement: Creating Closeness Among Couples in a Virtual World

Description: One of the cornerstones of group-based relationship education workshops is an overall sense of community and belonging that allows couples to change and grow together. Since 2006, the expert team at Montefiore Medical Center’s Supporting Healthy Relationships (SHR) Program has utilized a unique approach to relationship education with thousands of families that is centered around modeling, creating, and sustaining closeness and connection, all within the physical space of the program headquarters in the Bronx, NY. At the start of the recent global pandemic in March of 2020, however, SHR was faced with the challenge of translating this sense of community and bonding into the virtual space, in order to keep couples engaged and ultimately ensure that they were still able to learn new ways of connecting with each other while isolating at home. This workshop will identify those factors of SHR’s approach to group-based relationship education that contribute to improved communication, trust, and closeness between partners—including modeling closeness among team members, fostering emotional safety among all workshop participants through attunement and engagement, and focusing on experiential and interactive coaching and learning. Presenters will then discuss the challenges inherent to translating traditionally in-person methods into the virtual space, given the context of a collective trauma, and the paradox of Zoom—making it easy to connect, and even easier to disconnect. They will then describe and demonstrate strategies used to create a new version of connectedness by embracing technology, such as by (1) utilizing platforms such as Salesforce and Slack to keep team members informed and connected themselves, (2) maximizing Zoom features to create an interactive workshop experience, (3) capitalizing on the use of the screen by incorporating videos of couple conflict into virtual workshops in order to stimulate discussion, (4) translating skills coaching into a virtual format, (5) developing a virtual participant hub to help couples stay connected to the program, the curriculum, and each other, (6) using social media to keep couples engaged in between sessions, and (7) relying on couple ambassadors to provide mentorship and support to couples throughout the program and maintain a sense of community.

Presenter: Traci Maynigo, Psy.D. ; Montefiore Medical Center, Supporting Healthy Relationships

Co-Presenter: Moshe Moeller, Ph.D.


July 12 / 11:00a - 12:30p

Trauma-Informed Marital Education Engaging the Whole Nervous System

Description: Many participants in marriage education have experienced various forms of trauma in their lives. Family Wellness curricula employ trauma-informed approaches that will prepare presenters with insight on approaching those individuals. This presentation will simplify elements of the most current trauma approaches, including Polyvagal Theory and other brain-based approaches to inform presenters how to engage these theories in their marriage education.

Presenter: Nathan Cottle; Family Wellness

Co-Presenter: Anna Morante; LMFT

The Utah Marriage Commission: An Overview of Providing and Supporting Relationship and Marriage Education at the State Level

Description: While many states receive Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood federal funding to provide educational services in their communities, Utah also has a formal state Marriage Commission that offers and supports educational services to Utahns. This workshop will detail how the Utah Marriage Commission functions and how it leverages funds from three sources: (1) State TANF funds, (2) marriage license fees, and (3) donors and sponsorships to promote strong marriages and provide relationship education services to people across the state.

Presenter: Dave Schramm; Utah Marriage Commission 

Co-Presenter: Kiersten Wilson

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.

Presenter:  Kristin Orphan; Family Wellness 

Culturally Responsive Evaluation: An Introduction for Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education Programs

Description: Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programs tend to promote
knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors associated with developing and maintaining healthy
relationships. Studies have demonstrated the positive impact healthy relationships can have on an individual’s physical, emotional, and psychological health and the ways HMRE programming
can improve relationship quality for both individuals and couples. Yet, few studies have
examined how the cultures of programs and families served by HMRE programs are considered
either in the delivery of programming or the achievement of key program outcomes. Culture can
be understood as “a cumulative body of learned and shared behavior, values, customs and beliefs common to a particular group or society (Hood, Hopson, and Kirkhart, 2015).” For relationships and marriage, culture likely shapes aspects of the quality and stability of these relationships. Therefore, culture should be considered as an important context for understanding how the elements of HMRE programming can more effectively and efficiently promote positive marriage and relationship outcomes for participants.

When HMRE programs, or program-evaluator partnerships, prepare to conduct an evaluation to
assess a programs’ impact on key outcomes, it is important to consider more than the technical
steps of the evaluation, especially in settings that are culturally diverse or focused primarily on
underrepresented populations (e.g., economically disadvantaged, people of color). Culturally
responsive evaluation (CRE) is a framework that can facilitate this process. This workshop will
introduce participants to a CRE framework and provide concrete steps for how HMRE programs
and evaluation teams can use the CRE framework to inform the design and implementation of
program evaluations in various contexts. Workshop participants will work together to identify
key questions to consider when planning to conduct a culturally responsive evaluation. HMRE
program staff and program evaluators are encouraged to attend. Staff from the federally funded
Marriage Strengthening Research and Dissemination Center will lead this session.

Presenter: Mindy Scott; Child Trends

Co-Presenter: Sydney Briggs; Child Trends

The Power of a Mom

Description: This workshop presents motherhood as a position of power and shows how the biological connection of mother and child undergirds the political, economic, and social structures of the world. We will explore how motherhood situates society as privately oriented rather than publicly regulated—and why that’s a good thing. We will breakdown the tactics used to dethrone motherhood and frame it as “socially unproductive work.” We will pinpoint ways to expand the message of powerful motherhood within families and in the public square.

Presenter:  Kimberly Ells; The Invincible Family


July 13 / 9:00a - 10:30a

Transforming Relationships for Prisoners

Description: This workshop is designed to provide the compelling evidence supporting the importance of relationship education to the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and their partner.  Statistics show that prisoners have one half of the marriage rate of those never incarcerated, but also have twice the divorce rates and the same parental rate as the general public.  Because of these dire statistics, we know that children with an incarcerated parent are the least likely to benefit from the protective factors of a healthy family.  It is time to break these generational cycles by preparing prisoners and their partners to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, lasting relationship that will also help protect their children from the cycles of poverty and imprisonment.  Information about the devastating effects of incarceration on family stability will be shared along with innovative strategies to attract, serve, and retain individuals and couples impacted by incarceration.


Presenter: Ron and Catherine Tijerina; The RIDGE Project, Inc

Building a Community Marriage Initiative 

Description: How can we encourage, promote, and support community-wide implementation of Marriage Ministries as a way to strengthen marriages and reduce county-wide divorce rates? This workshop highlights a current grant opportunity that equips a community-based team to: 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 connect the two with a Community Marriage Resource Center website. 3. Position your organization to be funded at a significant level - ideally at the rate of $1 per person per year living in the community.

Presenter: Dennis Stoica and Carl Caton; CMI Fund & San Antonio Marriage Initiative

Using Digital Genograms to Support Healthy Blended Family Relationships

Description: Overview of digital genograms and the use with blended (step) families to help identify and provide guidance for couples to navigate the unique challenges presented in multi-family households.

Presenter: Michael Stensland, Ph.D. ; Blending Love

Co-Presenter: Kristine Stensland

Helping Latino Marriages Flourish

Description: Latino households demonstrate incredible resilience in the face of hardship and distress. However, many families are vulnerable in the face of financial, educational, and work-related pressures, as well as unsafe neighborhoods and traumatic experiences. The acculturation experience coupled with the COVID pandemic means these challenges are faced in isolation as traditional support sources often rely upon extended family, and engaged neighborhoods are compromised. Emotional and relational needs against the backdrop of these challenges can overwhelm couples and families. The faith community provides a natural and trusted source of support that can encourage, empower and equip families. This session will share the promising results of a longitudinal study conducted of a robust marriage and family program developed by Family Bridges. Lessons learned from coaching lay leaders across 8 churches since 2016 in the Chicagoland community will be shared. The areas of training and coaching provided to the churches include 1. leadership, 2. marriage and family programs (i.e., couples communication, parenting, finances etc.), and 3. community-based approach. The program relies on a sense of community to foster resiliency, mitigate isolation and encourage growth in marriages and families. 

Presenter: Alicia La Hoz; Family Bridges

Connecting Brothers: Facilitating Vulnerable Conversations Between Dads in Relationship and Parenting Workshops

Description: Emotional safety is fundamental to creating connection, trust, and commitment in all relationships. In Montefiore’s HERO (Healthy, Empowered, Resilient & Open) Dads program, emotional safety is developed through the love HERO Dads demonstrate towards one another in their respective Brotherhood cohorts. Through facilitator modeling and coaching, non-custodial fathers are encouraged to be vulnerable with one another, creating a safe space to connect, grow, and learn new skills. For 16 years, Montefiore Medical Center, a 4th time HMRF grantee, has delivered relationship and parenting education, employment services, and family support services to low-income Bronx families. Led by a team of clinical psychologists, Montefiore’s HERO Dads program utilizes a trauma-informed approach to facilitate empirically supported, skills-based relationship, parenting, and employment workshops to foster familial and economic stability. This experiential workshop will demonstrate how HERO Dads become more emotionally aware, open, and vulnerable through the secure attachment bond that is fostered in their Brotherhood cohort. When fathers feel emotionally safe, they are more likely to demonstrate positive fathering attitudes and behaviors. By observing our clinicians modeling effective communication and parenting styles and practicing being vulnerable and loving with other fathers, HERO Dads are better equipped to internalize and utilize these methods with their own partners, co-parents, and children. Through video presentations, attendees will learn how clinicians use authoritative parenting (Baumrind) and secure attachment (Bowlby) frameworks in workshops to foster emotional safety and model effective communication and parenting techniques for our HERO Dads. Preliminary program evaluation findings will also be discussed.

Presenter: Moshe Moeller, Ph.D. ; Montefiore Medical Center - HERO Dads

Co-Presenter: Traci Maynigo, Psy.D.


July 13 / 11:00a - 12:30p

Exploring the Harvard Research for Human Flourishing

Description:  How do we operationalize optimal health and well-being? What Harvard researchers did is explore this question for several years with a deep dive in the well-being literature. The result of their research is compelling. All of us who care about imparting the best practices of health and well-being to those we serve need to attend this workshop.

Presenter: Joneen Mackenzie, RN; The Center for Relationship Education

"Internal Pitstop"

Description: Could your life use a tune-up? This session will allow you to navigate through the maintenance of your lifestyle, while fulfilling your purpose. Make your appointment at NARME 22'!

Presenter: Washington Jackson III; AVANCE Houston, Inc.

Co-Presenter: Avance Mechanics (team)

5 Essential Dad-Skills: How I Help Inmates Stop the Cycle of Abuse and Become Good Dads

Description: As a Fatherhood Educator in the Prison and county jails, I teach inmates how to be good dads. All of my students have felony records. Most are drug addicts. Many sold drugs. Some were drug runners for their parents. Some were introduced to drugs by their parents who were addicts themselves. My students have experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They have family members who are also incarcerated. Some of my students watched as their mother was treated violently. Many joined gangs. Many have multiple children by multiple women they call their “Baby Mommas”—one of my students had 17 children by 10 different women. My workshop will demonstrate what I teach to help my students break the cycle of abuse, build good relationships, and become good dads.  

Presenter: Richard O’Keef; Utah State University

Best practices delivering relationship and marriage education in-person and virtually: An ELEVATE case study

Description: Relationship and marriage education can only help couples who are able to attend. Many barriers limit couple participation in RME, including childcare, transportation, scheduling, location, comfort, and health concerns. How do we make RME accessible to more couples without losing the personal engagement present in real-time workshops? This workshop will share evaluation findings and lessons learned from adapting an evidence-based, experiential (in-person) RME program, ELEVATE, for a synchronous (live), online environment.

Presenter: Dr. Ted Futris; University of Georgia

Co-Presenter: Christine Hargrove

“Effectively engaging Fathers in Relationship Education Programs”; Tips from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse on recruiting, engaging, and retaining fathers

Description: This interactive workshop will share resources available through the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse ( that will help programs to support fathers and families. 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.

Presenter: Eugene Schneeberg; National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Co-Presenter: James Worthy

bottom of page