We’ve had the good fortune of helping over 3,000 people become better parents, husbands, wives, and partners. Here are just a few of their stories.
John and Natasha were two of our first participants. Like many young couples, they met and fell in love, but soon learned that Natasha was pregnant.
John had been raised by a single mom after his alcoholic father abandoned them. He then watched his heroin-addicted step-father abuse his mother. John’s mother told him he had no responsibilities toward the child.
Natasha was a recent immigrant whose parents urged her to marry John for the sake of the baby. The couple was under extreme pressure and began fighting endlessly.
One day, Natasha picked up a Flourishing Families brochure and shared it with John. They immediately registered for the program. Through the classes, they learned the skills to communicate, set goals, manage money, handle conflict, and prepare for parenthood. They committed themselves to getting married and raising the child together, and to finishing school.
That was several years ago. Today, John and Natasha are both college graduates, are building their careers, have a great marriage, and are raising their son in a happy, healthy home.
Jill and Matt had a one-year-old child and were struggling financially. Things were tough, but they had trouble figuring out how to make it better.
They were both a little skeptical coming into our program. Jill wasn’t sure about what our program had to offer, and Matt didn’t think he wanted to be there. But as the class progressed, they began to open up about some of the issues they were having in their relationship. They learned how to listen and communicate without fighting. Jill said that for a long time now she had been considering going back to school to become a nurse. Before the class Matt had no idea that Jill had that dream.
They discussed some of the obstacles that prevented them from reaching their goals, and explored options that might make it possible for Jill to attend school. Through open communication, they were able to make the decision that Matt will stay home with their child so that Jill could go back to school. They look forward to a better future for themselves and their child.
Alisha Grimes became a mother at 14. Edward Purcell was one of eight siblings by seven different men. He knew his father but saw him only once a year, on his birthday. “He would pick me up, give me alcohol and drugs, and drop me at my grandmother’s,” he recalled.
They had 8 children between them when they met. After beginning a relationship, they soon had 2 more children. Edward struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and got into trouble with the law. This caused problems for the couple and they argued often. Alisha had a steady job as a cashier, but when she lost that job, the arguments became more frequent. In the heat of a fight, Edward would leave their home. But because she loved him and knew how much he loved their children, Alisha always welcomed him back.
Following the birth of their third child, Alisha knew something had to change. She learned of classes for unwed couples with low incomes through a social worker. She and Edward signed up right away. In the class, they learned about money management, parenting, and communication skills. They learned the importance of listening and not leaving, even when the conversation got tough. Following the program, Edward decided he wanted a better life for himself, Alicia, and the children. He quit turning to drugs and alcohol, began attending church, and was baptized with his children.
Knowing they now had a better chance for a strong future, the couple married in 2011. “We wanted to do this for us and our children,” Alicia said. “We want to set a better example for them.”
Liz is a single mother with a son. She was married for 5 years and was very unhappy. Her husband was verbally abusive. She got a divorce and went back home to live with her parents. She knew she wanted a better life for herself and her child. After hearing about our program for single parents, she quickly enrolled.
In the program, Liz learned that abuse wasn’t always physical – it could also be verbal. She learned how to plan for her child’s future, and learned how to tell whether or not a potential partner might be a good choice.
Before taking the program, Liz was just getting to know someone new, but she wasn’t sure if he would be a good choice for her and her son. She used the skills she gained in the program helped her make her decision. Liz has told us she’s very happy she took the class, as she learned a lot about herself and can now make better choices for a happier future.