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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.
â€śWe believe when you build strong families, youâ€™re investing in your children. They will have a better chance of being successful if they come from a strong family,â€ť 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.
â€śBecause a lack of financial management is the number one or number two reason for divorce, teaching financial literacy is important,â€ť program director George Miller said.
FCP will also look at any other needs the couple might have, from continuing education to job skills development.
â€śWe can offer couples some career counseling. We have a person who will work with them to identify their career skills,â€ť Butler said. â€śThey may need to utilize our GED program, or we can help get them enrolled at EMCC.â€ť
Participating couples will have a chance to work with a mentor couple throughout the program.
â€śSometimes itâ€™s easier when you see a successful marriage modeled for you,â€ť 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.
â€śWe 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,â€ť Butler said.
The grant will provide $700,000 a year for the program.
â€śWe certainly look forward to impacting the community in a positive way,â€ť Miller said. â€śWe just hope the community will give us a chance to show them how we can help them.â€ť