The Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Initiative

 From the AHMREI website:

“Healthy relationships and strong marriages are for everyone! We provide programming for youth, non-married parents, pre-marital couples, step-families and married couples. There is mounting research evidence that the trends of increasing marital and family instability have a negative impact on children, adults, families, and their communities. The research is clear: healthy relationships and marriages, and resulting family stability benefit the physical, social, and emotional well-being of adults and children. Even though we know that healthy couples lead to healthy families and healthy children, there has been little effort to systematically provide educational resources and prevention programming that focuses on relationship skills for couples and individuals. AHMREI is focused on ensuring that this important area is not a "missing link" in family life education and prevention programming in Alabama”

Please contact Jeffery Washington

at (256) 547-6888 ext. 112

Jeffery Washington

Program Director/Educator  

Emma Hazlewood Clapp, M.S., CFLE 


Bart Clapp, RN, BSN


Available Classes

Are you interested in having the educators come to you to do a class?  Our educators have offered classes in high schools, colleges, churches, jails, drug rehabilitation centers, community agencies, homes, community centers, and right here at the Family Success Center.  If you are interested in hosting a class or joining a workshop, please feel free to reach out.  All classes are free!  And for workshops and classes held for adult individuals, we can provide food and even childcare (though limited spaces are available)  Reach out to 256-547-6888 ext. 112.

Our Curricula

Education is powerful! Take time to learn about healthy relationship skills - it will be one of the best investments you can make for your family and community. We're delighted to offer these relationship and marriage education programs through community partners. Each program is based on research with families and couples. Learn information and skills that will help strengthen your relationship/marriage.

Classes for Youth (Teen/Young Adult):  Relationship Smarts

Relationship Smarts Plus - For youth we offer the evidence-informed and evidence-based Relationship Smarts Plus (RS+) curriculum (Marline Pearson, 2013; ACF Curriculum Resource Guide), a developmentally appropriate Relationship Education curriculum specifically designed for youth. Over the years, we assisted the program developers in refining the content based on feedback sessions we held annually with participants. Based on this feedback, the current edition of the program contains more information on skills for identifying unhealthy and abusive relationships and information on the use of social media in dating relationships. Current topics also include: self-esteem building and assertiveness, understanding healthy relationship development; communication skills; conflict/anger/stress management skills; empathy and emotional understanding; affection and intimacy.

Adult Individuals and Couples


  • Smart Steps for Stepfamilies - (Adler-Baeder, 2007; HMRF Guide, Child Trends, 2015) This evidence-informed and evidence-based educational curriculum consists of six 2-hour modules and is designed for couples in structurally complex families (i.e., one or both have a child from a previous relationship). It focuses on building couple and family strengths while addressing the unique needs and issues that face couples in stepfamilies. In addition to learning core relational skills (i.e., communication, conflict/stress/anger management, developing empathy) participants expand their knowledge about the value/benefit of marriage, the myths about stepfamilies, realistic expectations for stepfamily members, realistic expectations for stepfamily development, strategies for developing healthy stepparent-stepchild relationships, and effective strategies for communicating with a child's other parent.

  • Together We Can: Caring for My Family - (Shirer, et al., 2009; ACF Curriculum Resource Guide) is an evidence-informed Relationship Education program for use with co-parents. The purpose of the program is to equip coparenting mothers and fathers with skills for cooperative coparenting and for making healthy decisions about their relationship. Topics covered include: the value/benefit of healthy marriages, self-efficacy and assertiveness, developing plans for self, child, and family, self-care skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, conflict/anger/stress management, emotion regulation, empathy and emotional understanding, affection and intimacy, identifying unhealthy/abusive relationships and child maltreatment, cooperative coparenting strategies and the value/benefit of 2-parent involvement, managing complex, blended family relationships, and money management values and skills.

  • ELEVATE: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level - (Futris & Adler-Baeder, 2014) is a couples education curriculum that blends practical skills with an understanding of the physiology of human interaction to enhance healthy relationship knowledge and skills. Grounded in best-practices of family life education, two distinct characteristics of ELEVATE are (1) the practical strategies and tools taught and (2) the inclusion of mindfulness practice activities that help couples regulate their heart-brain response to stressful triggers.

  • Couples Connecting Mindfully - (McGill, Ketring, & Adler-Baeder, 2015) is an evidence-informed Relationship Education curriculum that primarily emphasizes physiology, emotion, and the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction skills to address personal stress and to facilitate emotion regulation and healthy interactional patterns in couple relationships. Informational sessions are provided and the curriculum is highly interactive, focusing mainly on skills practice and “homework” practices. Topics include: effects of stress on intimacy and relationships and how mindful practices can be helpful for mental health, physical health, and relational health; the physiology of emotions and stress; mindful stress management and conflict resolution skills; and strategies for developing compassion and empathy in communication.

(256) 547-6888


821 E Broad St, Gadsden, AL 35903, USA

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