MRC: Strengthening families in Southeast Michigan

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Downriver Marriage Resource Center (Marriage Resource Center of Wayne County)
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Our mission is to improve the quality of marriage relationships and family life for adults and their children throughout Southeast Michigan. We are challenged to raise awareness of programs for singles and couples at every stage of pre-marriage and marriage; increase resources available to those who are interested in improving the quality of their relationships; bring together like-minded individuals and organizations who collectively work to strengthen marriages and reduce divorce.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

“Thank you. I think this is really going to help my husband and I.” wrote a 2009 workshop participant upon completion of the Preparation and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP).

In 2008, the Marriage Resource Center of Wayne County (Michigan), exposed over 1 million people to the benefits of healthy relationships. This is significant, considering the 40 years of scientific research confirming those benefits to children whose biological parents are together in a healthy marriage, especially in a county where more than 70% of children are born to single mothers. Additionally we continued to publish the first website in Michigan that serves as a comprehensive source of relationship-strengthening resources for couples and singles. The Marriage Resource Center (MRC) helped 864 singles avoid potentially dangerous dating relationships, arranged for 175 high school students at five area schools to learn healthy relationship skills, taught effective communication and conflict resolution skills to 58 couples, and celebrated healthy marriages with 135 individuals with our National Marriage Week and Black Marriage Day annual banquets in 2008. The MRC, a 501(c)3 community-based non-profit founded in 2004, plays an integral part in strengthening families in the 43 cities it currently serves and Microsoft technologies plays an integral part in all of the MRC’s successes.

Media exposure that reached more than 1 million viewers was met through freeway billboards and radio broadcasts. These efforts were accomplished by the Michigan Healthy Marriage Coalition, with the Marriage Resource Center as a founding partner. Development of the graphics and radio scripts required the participation of numerous individuals and organizations spread over Southeast Michigan. With Microsoft Internet Explorer, email and Microsoft Word, the MHMC partners were able to successfully and in a timely manner develop, approve and deliver media files among all involved. Only through wide-reaching media are we able to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy marriages, and promote the availability of resources to successfully develop such relationships. Only through such media efforts will we begin to positively effect change in a local culture with a nearly 80% divorce rate.

The Marriage Resource Center of Wayne County hosts the first website in Michigan that serves as a “one-stop-shopping” site for couples who are looking for help to heal and strengthen their marriages. Increasingly, stressed and struggling individuals–frustrated with the quality of their relationships, or on the verge of losing their partners--locate the MRC through its’ website, phoning the MRC office for information on workshops and retreats, requesting private sessions with a Marriage Educator, gaining referrals to marriage-friendly therapists, and most of all receiving hope to restore their broken families. Development, publication and maintenance of the website would not happen without a variety of Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer, Word and Publisher.

The MRC’s primary means of effecting change in our communities is through the offering of healthy relationship workshops. Workshops require recruiting efforts, registration and tracking of individuals before and throughout trainings, informative and enlightening presentations, evaluation of facilitator and participants’ success, and recognition of those successes. Microsoft technologies are involved at every level: brochures and flyers promoting workshops are developed in MS Publisher and Word; registration forms, sign-in sheets, pre- and post-tests, and final evaluations are developed in Word or Excel; effective and entertaining presentations are prepared in Power Point, then utilized during workshops to express new ideas and learning’s to participants; acknowledgement of successful completion of workshops is provided to participants through certificates prepared in MS Publisher, and finally, contact information is gathered in an Access database for future use.

Through 2007 and 2008, the Marriage Resource Center was fortunate to lead a community needs assessment of Wayne County citizens, gathering their opinions and desires surrounding marriage and family relationships. With the help of Microsoft technologies, the MRC was able to gather, record and track data that informs our efforts, allowing us to better respond to the needs of our communities. Working with a consultant, the MRC was able to receive draft versions of the survey—prepared in MS Word; the consultant, MRC staff and community members accessed electronic versions of the survey through Internet Explorer; tracking of survey responses and initial tabulation of results were completed in MS Excel. Through Excel, survey data will remain available to the MRC for future review and evaluation.

Annual events to recognize long-married couples are a highlight of our success in empowering community members. MS Publisher is utilized to create flyers for promotional efforts, as well as designing programs and creating keepsakes like vow renewal cards.

Community organizing fulfills one purpose of the Marriage Resource Center. MRC efforts to unite a wide variety of individuals and organizations in the support of healthy marriages and families are beginning to come to fruition. The Tri-County Marriage Initiative unites diverse constituents around common guidelines; the final product which brings together these guidelines was developed and matured in MS Publisher. Communication between core committee members during development, and ongoing promotion of the CMI in the community, is accomplished by email and the MRC website utilizing Internet Explorer.

Building and managing any organization is a challenge; utter chaos would ensue without effective ways to manage the vast amounts of equipment and information required to do so successfully. Multiple Microsoft technologies make the MRC’s successes possible. Staff communications are often accomplished through Word, email and Internet documents; personnel documentation and training materials are created in Excel, Word and Power point; equipment tracking is accomplished through Excel-created sign out forms. In short, the Marriage Resource Center could not function without the many Microsoft technologies utilized daily in both administrative and service delivery activities.

In 2009, the Marriage Resource Center of Wayne County is poised to exceed its 2008 reach into the communities it serves and the positive impact on its’ constituents. The commonality of Microsoft products used on all MRC computers, and among MRC’s many partners and constituents, insures a high quality of effectiveness within the organization, as well as in the workshops and services offered to the public. Thanks to Microsoft technologies, the MRC’s effectiveness, mission delivery and organizational outreach improve each year.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery