Healthy Marriage Project

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Healthy Marriage Project Greater Sacramento Region
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Nurturint Marriage and Family through Educaion, Community and Research

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Microsoft technologies streamlines our efforts in reaching families and volunteers with it generous donations of software and computers.

With over 7,000 participants it was hard if not impossible to organize information and track progress efficiently. Thanks to Microsoft Office our enrollment has increased 85% and has saved our business thousands of dollars.. We are truly amazed with the sophistication this program has brought to our organization. Prior to receiving Microsoft office we were unable to effectively track referrals and handle client calls. Information was written on post it notes and they were often lost or over looked. Instead of centralized information, cases were assigned to specific people in the organization. Should if that person be not available it was difficult to provide quality service to a needy family, resulting in delayed service and loss of business. Continuity is essential to our business and Excel has facilitated this aspect of our needs and more.

Using Microsoft Excel we designed a data base for our organization. We were able to easily create databases and professional presentations. Now the entire staff may assist all of our participants. We are able to review interactions with our participants, track their progress, view which classes that they have completed. It also proves itself to be a gage on how our marketing efforts are paying off. It tracks referral sources, client demographics, statistics. Being a nonprofit organization it is import to know where the source of our business comes from and being able to review this data helps our recruiters penetrate greater markets. Excel also performs eligibility checks for our prospects. We are able to view client information in different perspectives. We now review a graphs displaying attendance, ratio of completion, and ethnic reporting, generate reports on inactive participants and make call list to recruit for volunteers. We also utilize PowerPoint to make professional presentations. Instead of printing lessons on paper which can be expensive, we create presentations on PowerPoint. We are proud to report that we are an environmental friendly office who now operates on a paper- less system. We have also made a training video using Power Point which standardizes our procedures.

Healthy Marriage Project of the Greater Sacramento Region’s mission is to create happy, stable families where members flourish emotionally and financially.

Sacramento County ranks seventh in the number of single female head of households with children under the age of 18 in the nation. According to the 1998 Working Poor report prepared by the Community Services Planning Councils these families headed by a single mother are five times more likely to be impoverished than two-parent households. Nearly 40% of these households live in poverty compared with 7% of married couple household with children. To cover the bare-bones expenses of living a single parent family need a monthly total of $4,716 just to cover such cost as housing, medical care, transportation and food. That means a single parent supporting two children would have to make $28.72 an hour. In comparison a two parent families with one working requires $3,993 would need to make $24.22 an hour and if both parents work they would only need to earn $17.39 an hour each. According to the report, Making the Ends Meet by the California Budget Project these figures do not include putting away savings for retirement or college, or extras such as cable television, internet nor vacations. The median hourly wage in 2006 was $17.42.

According to the Administration for Children and Families, Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. the overall social impact of marital failure includes an increased need for social services and crime prevention. Children born out of wedlock are more likely to experience difficulties in school such as developmental problems, lower reading, spelling and math scores. The poor performance lowers self-esteem and causes depression and poor peer relationships. Being in a depressed state the child is more likely to smoke and use drugs, be sexually active and eventually drop out of school. Without proper education these individuals are unable to sustain suitable employment resulting in higher delinquency and crimes, and increase of more out of wedlock births. In comparison children of successful marriages have better health physically and mentally. Have lower child abuse. They tend to have greater success in school and are more likely to attend college and get a high status job. They are more likely to get married and become homeowners.

The marriage rate has declined. According to an article in Divorce magazine the rate per 1000 married couples in 2005 was 7.5 down from the previous year 7.8. Only 63% of children will grow up with both biological parents which is the lowest figure in the Western world.

Saving marriages and relationships may be as simple as learning and practicing new behaviors. According to the NFI report on Nations Marriages, Most people don’t know how to try to save their marriages. In a study 62% of ex-wives and ex-husbands answered "yes" to the question, “Do you wish your ex-spouse had worked harder to save the marriage?" The top reasons for divorce given by ex-husbands and ex-wives were: (1) "lack of commitment," (2) "too much conflict and arguing," and (3) "infidelity" -- reasons that can be addressed by counseling and interventions included in various healthy marriage initiatives.

PREMARITAL CLASSES CAN HELP RELATIONSHIPS: RESEARCH"Couples who attend premarital courses tend to communicate better, solveproblems and report better relationships than those who do not, says a studyin the April 2003 issue of the journal Family Relations. The increase in"marital strength: is about 30%, say co-authors Jason Carroll of BrighamYoung University and William Doherty of the University of Minnesota. Thecouples also see themselves more as partners in a relationship.Researchers' meta-analysis looked at 23 existing studies, many of whichassessed couples from six months to one year after marriage and used controlgroups of those not attending courses. Classes, some at low cost, areavailable through churches, schools, employers and health care providers."-- From a 4/2/03 posting on the Smart Marriages Archive

Healthy Marriage Project of the Greater Sacramento Region aids economically disadvantage people in the greater Sacramento area by teaching skills to cultivate healthy relationships through all phases of life. We have programs targeting preteens and young adults in the 6th- 12th grade which focus on pregnancy prevention, conflict management and effective communication, self discovery and life planning. Our singles program was designed to teach people how to select suitable partners. Once a suitable partner is found we teach how to make the transition from being single to married. The core program is the Healthy Marriage project targeting romantically involved low income couples who are pregnant, or have an infant three months old or younger. The intention of this program is to help alleviate maternal post-partum depression and interpersonal hostility between the mother and father, improve parent-baby interaction and infant development. The couples are taught skills to rekindle their love and realize goals for their families. They learn strategies to manage their finances, handle stress and how to communicate affection and appreciation to their families

This program is of great success. Many of our graduates have experiences better communication with their mates and have stronger relationships. One of our participants said “We take better care of the children, we are more patient and I take in consideration my wife’s opinions to make decisions.”

Other FFP Graduates say “I realized that a relationship takes a lot of work and you have to keep working at it in order to have a good family. You have to communicate and open up more with your partner. We worked out a lot of our differences, though it’s still a work progress, but I notice great difference in our relationship after the program.”

“We had a lot of problems. He was lazy and didn’t want to do anything to help me, but taking the class was awesome because he now takes his time, and if there’s something wrong, we’ll talk about. He helps me more, he helps me clean, make the bed, I tell everyone that it’s a big difference because he helps me now when he didn’t help before.”

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
Supporting Work Files
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