Central Missouri Community Action began hosting another free, eight-week ShowMe Healthy Relationships course for adults on Thursday, aimed at helping participants form meaningful connections with others.
"We have a lot of different people that will come back to us and say, 'This is life-changing. I never knew what I went through growing up or my past relationships, how those can impact my future relationships,'" Nolanda Dodd, the SMHR Program Manager, said. "So, being able to recognize that and then know how to change that pattern, change that cycle, those are all things that we talk about in our classes."
The class is in two-hour sessions every week and has been on Zoom since the Coronavirus pandemic. However, participants still engage in activities, presentations, discussions and one on one relationships with facilitators and program coaches, Dodd said.
The class is for people that are in a single or non-committed relationship and happens often throughout the year. Participants learn how to form connections with intimate relationships, relationships within their community, co-parenting relationships, workplace relationships and more, Dodd said.
Dodd said she struggled with models of healthy relationships throughout her life. Her parents were divorced, and she got into an unhealthy romantic relationship in adulthood. However, after utilizing the SMHR program, she began to understand what made a healthy relationship.
"It wasn't until I was able to learn about relationship education, through the program, that I understood that what I had thought was a good relationship, wasn't healthy," Dodd said.
A current participant in the class, Sherrie Dixon, has been in a domestic violence situation before. She said the class has helped her know when to stay or leave a relationship.
"We learned the pros and the cons (of a relationship)," Dixon said. "You know, should I stay in this relationship? You know, and then there's some do's and don'ts and different things where you can kind of like, judge yourself or when it's time to leave, or whatever if it's a toxic relationship"
The program is in its third year of a five-year grant funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. It is also a partnership between the University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Science, the University of Missouri and CMCA.
Besides the CMCA, the Ozark Area Community Action Corporation and the Cornerstones of Care in Kansas City also host this class.
In the past, this was a program for singles and couples, but was changed to singles only to help from a "prevention standpoint."
"It makes a lot of sense, from more of a prevention standpoint, rather than, you know, an intervention standpoint," said Chelsea Garneau-Rosner, University of Missouri Public Information Director for SMHR. "So if we can reach people when they're in that in-between phase, we can do, you know, we can do a lot more to help them before they get into the next relationship, maybe with a partner who's not going to be so great for them."
Besides the incentive to learn about relationships in the class, participants also receive a gift card and relationship workshop materials after completing the class, Dodd said.