ELEVATE program strengthens relationships across Georgia
And even after 14 years of marriage, there’s always new opportunities to improve according to Kiara and Rashad Baker. After a recommendation from a friend, the Bakers decided to attend the ELEVATE workshop in Clayton County to find new ways to communicate and connect.
ELEVATE, a free relationship education program for couples in the state of Georgia, aims to help couples connect, have fun and develop skills that will strengthen their relationship. The program is available to any couple in a committed relationship in the state of Georgia.
“Every couple wants their relationship to succeed and last, and every relationship has room to grow,” said Ted Futris, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist and professor of human development and family science in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “We provide couples a free and fun way to ‘elevate’ their relationship to the next level.”
Communication was the major goal for the Bakers. On top of that, they learned about stress management and how to deal with differences in healthy ways. According to the couple, it was also interesting to learn from the other couples in the workshop, some of which had been married even longer than the Bakers.
“It just shows that you can have some of the same issues in different relationships, regardless of how long you’ve been together,” said Rashad.
To those wondering whether they should attend the workshop, the Bakers noted that the workshop can serve as a reminder of both devotion and commitment.
“Even if you think your relationship is good, there’s always something you can improve,” said Kiara. “It’s definitely worth it. For relationships experiencing issues and healthy ones, everyone has something they can learn from someone else.”
They are just one of 471 couples that have participated in either an in-person or online workshop since the program’s launch in March 2021. Participating couples have received over $123,000 through incentives for completing the program and surveys for a related research study.
According to Futris, “not only do our couples report learning strategies for increasing their relationship success, but it really does pay to elevate your relationship."
The Bakers participated in an in-person workshop offered through one of the program's community partners on the project, RefresHer Community Inc.
The program is funded by a five-year federal grant from the Administration of Children and Families. In-person workshops are available in select counties, with virtual options available across the state.
This article was written by Amanda Budd, a writer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 542-2956.