Ted Futris, associate professor in the department of human development and family science, is the recipient of the Margaret E. Arcus Outstanding Family Life Educator Award, along with his colleague, Francesca Adler-Baeder of Auburn University.
The award, sponsored by The National Council on Family Relations, aims to “encourage a tradition of excellence and scholarship by recognizing family life education scholars and practitioners who advance the field; and increase the visibility and credibility of family life education scholarship and practice.”
Having known each other since their time as graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, both recipients were excited about the opportunity to apply jointly.
“I’ve developed some curricula with her as well as independently, and she’s also developed some independently, so combined we’ve contributed quite a bit in advancing relationship education,” Futris said.
Elevate is one such curriculum that the two have worked together to develop.
This unique program aims to help couples strengthen their relationships through a curriculum that “blends practical skills with an understanding of the physiology of human interaction to enhance healthy relationship knowledge and skills.”
“What’s really great is that we’re positively impacting couples with these programs here in Georgia,” Futris said. “We’re using both the Elevate curriculum that we’ve developed as well as the Together We Can curriculum that we’ve modified and adapted for use with parents in northeast Georgia who are participating in our federally funded project called Project F.R.E.E. (Fostering Relationship and Economic Enrichment).”
Futris added that other states are utilizing the Elevate program as well.
“Florida, Alabama and Iowa are using it, but it’s been also been purchased or downloaded in over 30 states,” he said. “Internationally, professionals from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore and Japan are also using the program.”
In addition to the work being done with adult couples and parents, Futris leads grants designed to assist at-risk youth through UGA Extension.
This past year alone, upwards of 3,000 youth across 30 counties have been helped through their participation in relationship education programs – both in school at the middle and high school level, and in out of school programs.
The Outstanding Family Life Educator Award commemorates Margaret Arcus, one of the pioneers of and primary contributors to the family life education field.
This article was written by consumer journalism student Ellen Hallman
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