Staten Island's got it going on - 3/27/07
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Tue Mar 27 09:37:10 EDT 2007
- STATEN ISLAND: 10 GREAT DATES, BASIC TRAINING, BLACK MARRIAGE DAY
Congratulations to Tammy Greer-Brown! She shows what one determined woman
can accomplish and deserves a big hoorah for pulling all these programs
together and for getting a powerful article like this in her local
If you can't get to Smart Marriages in Denver where you can be trained by
the program founders featured here, realize that all the programs mentioned
are "Toobs" - very affordable "teach out of the box" programs. You can
order them, open the kit and start teaching. Find them at
http://www.smartmarriages.com/toobs.html - just click on the program titles
for order info.
In Denver, Nisa Muhammad will teach a two-day pre-conference training
institute on her Basic Training program, several workshops, and will receive
the Smart Marriages Impact Award at the Friday keynote where she will bring
us up to date on the progress of strengthening marriage in the Black
community. Friday's (3/23/07) 20/20 special "Enough!" featured an inspiring
"Marry Your Babby Daddy" segment which I expect will lead to an expansion of
the NY-based group weddings program across the country. For details on the
African American Marriage Track in Denver, visit:
Improve your marriage with '10 Great Dates"
Recently launched on Staten Island, the unique program motivates couples to
make their relationships a top priority
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
By LISA ANN WILLIAMSON
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Growing up, Tammy Greer-Brown didn't have a very good
model of marriage. Her mother was married three times, and each of her
family members went through at least one divorce. A few years ago, her own
marriage was heading in the same direction.
"There is not a woman in America that has not considered leaving her man,"
Mrs. Greer-Brown commented.
But, the New Brighton resident felt the right tools to repair her marriage
were out there somewhere. What she eventually found after extensive research
is a program that works so well, she is introducing it to Staten Islanders
-- and more specifically to the African-American community.
Presented by Celebrating Real Family Life, in conjunction with First Central
Baptist Church in Stapleton, "10 Great Dates for Black Couples" aims to help
couples restore their marriages.
The way it works is: Each month for 10 months, participants gather for a
discussion on varying topics on how to improve their marriages. Afterward,
the couples enjoy the social aspect of their dates, whether it's going to
dinner by themselves or taking in a play as a group.
Very fittingly, Mrs. Greer-Brown launched the first date on Sunday, the
fifth anniversary of "Black Marriage Day," another initiative to help
African-American couples. The date started with dinner and a discussion at
Hoppin' Johns Restaurant, Stapleton, followed by the play, "Love Psalm," at
The Cup next door.
MARRIAGE IS WORK
But, the dates are more than just finding a cool place to visit or
activities in which to participate. The truth is, no matter how well you
choose your mate, marriage requires work and skills that couples need to
develop and hone over time.
"10 Great Dates" seeks to strengthen, encourage, revitalize and energize
unions and get couples "in the habit of making marriage a priority,"
explained Claudia Arp, who along with her husband, David, founded the
Marriage educators since the 1970s, the Arps wrote "10 Dates for Mates" in
1983. By 1997, the book evolved into "10 Great Dates for Couples," and today
the curriculum is offered around the country in churches, synagogues,
community centers and on military bases.
Dates may occur in small group settings once or twice a month and begin with
a DVD viewing and discussion. Topics range from communication; resolving
conflicts; balancing parenthood; developing spiritual intimacy; sharing
responsibilities; financial planning, and building a creative sex life.
"The dates are about connecting and having fun. The conversation is
sometimes secondary to looking into each others' eyes," said Dr. Rozario
Slack, who along with his wife, Dr. Angela Slack, founded "10 Great Dates
for Black Couples" last June.
The reason they launched the program specifically for African-Americans, Dr.
Slack explained, is because couples learn better when embracing their
cultural nuances. When dealing with a subject that may potentially leave
people feeling vulnerable, such as poor marriages, it is important to have
that information come from someone who looks like them, he said.
"10 Great Dates" on Staten Island couldn't come at a better time. Marriage
statistics continue to be daunting. More than 50 percent of marriages end in
divorce. Increasingly, more people are choosing not to marry.
According to the U.S. Census, 57 percent of babies in New York City are born
to unmarried moms. And while research supplied by the Arps states 76 percent
of American families are headed by married couples, just under 48 percent of
African-American homes are headed by married couples.
Further, the increase of independent and working women has built a
subculture that in effect deems marriage unnecessary.
But the benefits of a healthy marriage are many, advocates say. They range
from increased wealth, greater stability for children and adults, better
health, reducing risky behavior -- even societal benefits such as a better
school system and reduced crime rate.
In short, "marriage is good for the community," said Nisa Islam Muhammad,
who established Black Marriage Day as an offshoot of Marriage Week USA held
in February. "Where marriages fail or fail to happen, the schools fail. In
areas where marriages are successful, property values are higher."
In addition to launching Black Marriage Day, Mrs. Muhammad developed an
eight-session marriage program called "Basic Training for Couples," along
with Dr. Slack.
Another program to help Island couples with their relationship issues is
Couples Ministry at First Central Baptist Church.
"This is another means of support," Demetrius Carolina, the church's pastor,
said, noting this program is designed for married, engaged or seriously
dating couples as well as singles who wish to marry.
Being in a support setting with other people "offers an objective way in
which to measure success and what you need to work on," the pastor said.
"It's fun to be around people who have the same goals of a healthy and
For more information or to join the "10 Great Dates" program, contact Tammy
Greer-Brown, president and CEO of Celebrating Real Family Life, (718)
595-2116 or e-mail her at celebratingrealfamilylife at yahoo.com. The next
discussion will be on communication. To purchase the "10 Great Dates for
Couples" or the DVD, visit the Web at www.marriagealive.com.
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