Healthy Marriage-Responsible Fatherhood of Lakewood is one of only two federally-funded programs in Washington, and one of only 20 such programs launched in the entire country. The program is part of a study being conducted by the U. S. Government to determine if marriage education helps to strengthen marriage. The program also seeks to identify links between strong marriages and strong communities.
As part of the grant supporting the Lakewood program, a “Healthy Marriage & Families Summit” celebrating healthy marriages and relationships is being conducted by the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Coalition of Lakewood.
On the agenda is a question-and-answer panel discussion made up of successful local married couples, including Larry and Sally Saunders. Larry Saunders is Lakewood’s police chief. Also scheduled is “Gear-Up with Music,” a program promoting non-violent, healthy relationships through music and a program on safe relationships at home and at school for elementary school kids. The summit is open to the public, with married couples, unmarried couples, and single people wanting to prepare for marriage in their future being encouraged to attend.
While the summit is the annual celebration of healthy relationships, the heart of the Lakewood program is a series of 6 weekly two-hour sessions that raise awareness of the issues that can hurt relationships and the steps that can help avoid or resolve those issues in non-violent ways. Dan Comsia, Program Director for Healthy Marriage-Responsible Fatherhood of Lakewood, emphasized that these are not counseling sessions, but educational opportunities.
Sponsoring the summit are several local programs, including Central Latino and the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County. On Monday, October 15, the Lakewood City Council presented a proclamation in support of the program and the summit. In part, the proclamation pointed out that parents are the first caring adults in a child’s life, and a healthy relationship is more likely to lead to a child’s success in and beyond school. The council, in the proclamation, went on to urge citizens to attend the summit and to encourage friends and family to join them. This is the program’s second year in Lakewood. For information about the summit or the weekly programs call 253-284-9061. The next 6-week program begins in January. Those wishing to attend the summit are asked to call and register to insure lunches and child care staffing are sufficient. However, walk-ins will not be turned away.
The Healthy Marriage and Families Summit will be held October 27, 2007 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the HOPE Center Boys and Girls Club of Lakewood, 10402 Kline Street, Lakewood.
The program includes lunch, panel discussion with married couples, and “Gear-Up with Music” for middle school through high school kids. Child Care for pre-schoolers provided.