In the next year during my reign as Mrs. Illinois International 2009, it is very important to me to share my passion for relationship education. I believe that the International Pageant System will open doors that will allow me to encourage others to also advocate for this cause.
While I was employed as a school counselor for a local school district, it became apparent to me that today's teens were not getting the relationships skills they needed in order to deal with their daily conflicts. I realized that if only these students had a little bit of information about abuse, verbal and nonverbal communication, and about repeating family behavior patterns, they could start to solve their conflicts a lot faster. Because of this, I began gathering information that I could share with high school students and begin giving them tools that they could then use for the rest of their lives.
As a clinical psychotherapist for Pathways Counseling of the Illinois Baptist Children's Home & Family Services, I worked with a colleague to refine the relationship information and develop it into a seven session curriculum for teens that can be presented in the school setting or with various youth groups. This program, SMART Education (Saving Marriages And Relationships Together), has been provided to over 1000 southern Illinois teens. Almost 99% of teens who participate in the program comment that they believe it is something their friends would also benefit in hearing. Nothing speaks louder to our communities than a vote of confidence by the teens themselves!
I encourage everyone to find out what relationship education can do for them. There are a wide variety of programs out there that can help teens, adults, and children. Take the opportunity to improve the emotional health of those close to you. Show them how much you love and care for them by taking an interest in this issue
Check out the following resources that can provide information about relationships and emotional health: