MA­TURE helps teens form healthy re­la­tion­ships

Mar­ried cou­ples hon­ored at ban­quet

The Covington News - - Religion - By Colleen Capes Jack­son

Ju­ve­nile Court Judge and Mrs. Billy Wa­ters and Pas­tor and Mrs. Gary Brown were hon­ored on March 15 as mar­riage of dis­tinc­tion cou­ples and served on a panel at the sec­ond an­nual Mar­riage Legacy Ban­quet spon­sored by the MA­TURE Project (Mar­riage Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Train­ing Up­lift­ing Re­la­tion­ship Ed­u­ca­tion).

Mar­ried since 1974, the Wa­ters at­tribute their healthy mar­riage to be­ing re­spect­ful to each other as a spouse part­ner and friend, keep­ing the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open and shar­ing each other’s in­ter­ests. The Browns, mar­ried since 1980, also iden­ti­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tion as a key fac- tor, have grown closer by be­ing in prayer to­gether and sep­a­rately and stayed in­volved as a fam­ily.

Rock­dale Med­i­cal Cen­ter is the fis­cal man­ager of the $2.5 mil­lion grant awarded to the MA­TURE Project over a fiveyear pe­riod by the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Chil­dren and Fam­ily of the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices.

“The mis­sion of the MA­TURE Project is to equip ado­les­cence to form healthy friend­ships now and healthy mar­riages and fam­i­lies in the fu­ture,” said Project Di­rec­tor Phillip­pia (Flip) Faust. “Since 1999, we have pro­vided health ser­vices out of Rock­dale Med­i­cal Cen­ter in terms of ab­sti­nence ed­u­ca­tion. In 2003, we re­ceived a grant to go into New­ton, Rock­dale and DeKalb County pub­lic schools to teach healthy re­la­tion­ships, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lis­ten­ing skills, con­flict res­o­lu­tion and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.”

The pro­gram trains and cer­ti­fies re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tors in mar­riage ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum to teach in pub­lic schools, group homes, com­mu­nity set­tings and ju­ve­nile court sys­tems. The ob­jec­tive is to de­crease sex­ual ac­tiv­ity, un­wed births and dat­ing vi­o­lence among teens; to strengthen skills nec­es­sary to form and sus­tain healthy re­la­tion­ships; and to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness of the ben­e­fits of a healthy mar­riage.

Se­lected stu­dents with at least a 3.0 grade point av­er­age who are rec­om­mended by three peo­ple in the com­mu­nity as ar­tic­u­late, out­stand­ing lead­ers serve as peer ed­u­ca­tors (PEER­suaders).

Gabrielle Ful­mer was awarded $300 as first place win­ner in the Mar­riage Cel­e­bra­tion Es­say Awards Con­test.

“Sav­ing my­self for mar­riage is my great­est gift be­cause pu­rity is frag­ile and beau­ti­ful and eas­ily lost, stated the eigh­teen-year-old New­ton County stu­dent in her es­say. “It has been en­trusted to me and I may do with it what I please. How­ever, how can I be of worth to my hus­band when I have given my worth away to an­other? What will I have to give him if not my pu­rity?”

The MA­TURE Project serves 3,000 stu­dents a year and spon­sors six events to pro­mote com­mu­nity aware­ness. The pub­lic is in­vited to at­tend a tri-cul­tural mock wed­ding to cel­e­brate with au­then­tic cer­e­monies, mu­sic, dress and cui­sine of Asian, African and His­panic her­itage at the Rock­dale Au­di­to­rium lo­cated at 901 Main Street in Cony­ers on April 19 at 6:00 p.m.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call 770-918-3296.

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