CRE Receives $2.7 Million Grant

Siloam Springs, Ark. (February 14, 2007) - The Center for Relationship Enrichment (CRE) at John Brown University was recently awarded a $2.7* million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families to support research and development of healthy marriages in Northwest Arkansas. CRE is the only Arkansas recipient of the grant.

“CRE is extremely privileged to receive this grant for the healthy marriage initiative,” Dr. Gary Oliver, executive director of CRE, said. “The potential impact that these initiatives can make here in Northwest Arkansas is very encouraging.”

“Receiving a federal grant of this magnitude is a substantial blessing; it is an endorsement that JBU and the CRE are on track in helping address the critical relational needs of our communities,” Dr. April Moreton, director of foundation and corporate relations, said.

Arkansas has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation at 54 percent compared to the national average of 48 percent. The goal of CRE's initiative is to prepare unmarried couples for successful, healthy marriages and to strengthen existing marriages.

The initiative should result in a reduced divorce rate while increasing marital satisfaction in Arkansas.

“We want to help those who choose to get married gain knowledge and skills to increase their ability to build and sustain a healthy, satisfying and lifelong marriage,” Dr. Greg Smalley, project director of the NWA Healthy Marriage Initiative, said.

Over the next five years, CRE plans to impact over 13,000 couples in six counties (Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Madison, Sebastian, and Washington) through four objectives: to provide premarital training, to train volunteer premarital facilitators, to provide marriage enrichment activities, and to train marriage enrichment leaders. CRE will partner with area churches and service agencies (government and nonprofit) to extend these opportunities to the Northwest Arkansas community at no cost.

Part of CRE’s objective to provide premarital training includes the development, implementation, and testing of a premarital and marriage enrichment program that include insights from research on the significance of one’s “emotional intelligence quotient” (EQ) in relationships.

“This innovative approach uses concepts of EQ that are not currently applied in premarital training or marriage enrichment seminars,” Dr. Oliver, said. “The EQ-related program integrates the element of understanding and managing one’s emotions with traditional premarital skills such as how to communicate, manage conflicts and strengthen their commitment.”

Results from the new program will be measured, tested, and compared to other well-known premarital and marriage enrichment curriculums.

In addition to the EQ program, CRE will offer one-day, community-wide premarital and marriage enrichment seminars and provide training and certification in these programs so that volunteer project leaders can take the seminars into their local church and community. The training and seminars by CRE will start early this spring.

The Center for Relationship Enrichment at JBU was founded in 1998. The Center’s mission is to educate, equip and enrich people for developing healthy relationships through consulting, education, enrichment, resources, research and assessment. CRE serves college students and the public with its marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, and relationships skills services.

John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 2,000 students from 40 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

*90 percent ($544,782) of the program is funded through federal money and 10 percent ($60,531) is financed through non-government sources from Sept. 30, 06-Sept. 29, 07.

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