Healthy Relationships California, a nationally-renowned leader in Relationship and Marriage Education, announced the formation of Healthy Relationships International at a United Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland last month.
“Because of our successful track record teaching relationship skills and conflict management tools to more than 140,000 people across the diverse populations, languages and cultures in California, Healthy Relationships California (HRC) regularly receives requests to bring similar trainings and resources to other countries around the world,” says HRC President, Patty Howell.
This new, privately-funded division of HRC, Healthy Relationships International (HRI), will provide consultation, training and technical assistance to organizations and governments wishing to bring an array of life-changing and universal communication skills programs to couples, parents, individuals and youth around the world.
“Family breakdown, unhealthy relationships and high-risk behaviors take a toll on villages, communities and entire nations,” says Dennis Stoica, HRC Chairman of the Board. “Teaching people how to communicate and resolve conflict successfully make all relationships healthier, safer and more stable.”
Hundreds of research studies demonstrate the alignment of family stability with key social factors such as physical and mental health, kids’ achievement at school, substance abuse, at-risk behaviors, crime and poverty. “The alignment across these factors is very strong”, says Howell. “And the exciting additional piece is that there are also hundreds of research studies showing that Relationship and Marriage Education programs help improve communication and relationship stability. When couples stay together and families remain intact, states and nations experience much less demand for costly social services. As a result, Relationship and Marriage Education programs are highly cost-effective.”
“While cultures and languages are different, the core values of mutual respect, feeling understood and cared about and being able to get your needs met in a relationship are universal,” says Howell. Adds Stoica, “There’s a lot of talk about people, groups and countries needing to live peacefully, but there’s not a lot of instruction on how neighbors and families can accomplish this. With HRI, we are going beyond good intentions and well wishes for peace. HRI will help organizations deliver the necessary tools and skills so people can manage conflict and relate successfully with one another. These skills are the essential building blocks of world peace.”
HRI has already received requests from representatives in Kenya, Israel and Mexico. “Effective communication opens the door for transformation,” says Howell, “one person and one skilled conversation at a time.”