By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Family Centered Programs recently received a large grant that will help fund their mission to build healthy marriages and families for years to come.
The three-year $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will help FCP continue to expand its Building Strong Families program.
“We believe when you build strong families, you’re investing in your children. They will have a better chance of being successful if they come from a strong family,” FCP Director Joan Butler said.
The program works through various churches in Oktibbeha, Choctaw and Winston counties because the church is a natural place for couples to come together, Butler said. The course works on building marriages skills like communication, conflict resolution and financial management.
“Because a lack of financial management is the number one or number two reason for divorce, teaching financial literacy is important,” program director George Miller said.
FCP will also look at any other needs the couple might have, from continuing education to job skills development.
“We can offer couples some career counseling. We have a person who will work with them to identify their career skills,” Butler said. “They may need to utilize our GED program, or we can help get them enrolled at EMCC.”
Participating couples will have a chance to work with a mentor couple throughout the program.
“Sometimes it’s easier when you see a successful marriage modeled for you,” Butler said.
The Building Strong Families program will also expand with a youth component. The program will work with various high schools in the area to teach healthy relationship skills.
“We want to reach them at an earlier age to look at the responsibilities in marriage, the benefits of marriage and teach them about the problems with going into a relationship for the wrong reasons,” Butler said.
The grant will provide $700,000 a year for the program.
“We certainly look forward to impacting the community in a positive way,” Miller said. “We just hope the community will give us a chance to show them how we can help them.”