In 2005, Carolyn Rich Curtis, Ph.D., a Family and Marriage Therapist who spent 30 years in private practice, started the Relationship Skills Center. She considered the breakdown of the American family one of the greatest challenges facing our society. Carolyn wanted to fundamentally change the dynamic that causes Sacramento to exceed national rates for children living in single parent households, living in poverty, and exposed to related risks for abuse and neglect by teaching people the skills necessary to build a healthy family.
Curtis knew that through hard work and community support, she could form an organization that would improve the quality of lives of thousands of people and their future generations.
Through small grants and community donations, the Relationship Skills Center made an immediate difference. The federal government recognized the Skill Center’s success and wanted those best practices to reach more parents. They also invited Curtis to speak at the White House regarding the success of the program. With continuing donations and the dedication of staff and volunteers, the Relationship Skills Center is able to reach the most fragile families in our community.
RELATIONSHIP SKILLS CENTER HONORED WITH TWO MAJOR AWARDS
The Relationship Skills Center received the Daily Point of Light Award from the Points of Light Foundation and the Office of the President of United States. This award is given to individuals and groups who are creating meaningful change in communities across America.
The Relationship Skills Center has also been honored with a prestigious 2012 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.
Executive Director Statement – Inside look into the organization
I Love this Job
By Erin Stone
In the summer of 2013, my husband and I were looking for an opportunity to help in the community and try something new. When we learned about RSC’s classes we were immediately drawn to the mission. It sounded just like our own conversations: if people just knew a little more about relationships, what a difference it would make in the lives of families. We already knew from our own experience professionally that communication is vital, and we learned personally that communicating with each other is essential to our family’s success and happiness.
I became RSC’s Executive Director in the fall of 2013 and I’m grateful my duties do not interfere with my role as a teacher. Teaching classes reinforces my resolve to inspire more families to take a leap of faith and come to class and it helps me convince funders that RSC is fundamentally a good investment in community building.
Typically on the first day of class, I will see a couple arrive who isn’t sure why they’re there. From their vantage point everything seems hopeless. The relationship may be falling apart, the kids are struggling, and one of them is ready to leave. Then I watch that same couple grow closer and become a stronger family. Just a few weeks later, on the last day of class, they stand up to say what they’ve learned. They tell me, “This class has given us hope, and the idea that we can make it as a family. Things are going to be better.”
It’s seeing the single dad with the grill and tattoos say he can see through the eyes of his child at circle time at school. It’s hearing from the mother who told me, “I never knew that there was another way to talk to my family. I didn’t know how to listen to my kids, and when they acted out, I spanked them to get them to behave. Before class, my five year old daughter wouldn’t talk to me, and now she shares her thoughts and feelings. I wish I had this experience for my older children. I am a better mom now.”
I want to make these types of positive changes possible for all families and teens who struggle in our community. With the help of families who care enough to make change and donors who understand that strong families build strong communities, we can make a difference for us all.