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USU Extension Official Secures Grant Nearing $800,000

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013

Writer: Julene Reese, 435-797-0810, julene.reese@usu.edu

Contact: Brian Higginbotham, 435-797-7276, brian.higginbotham@usu.edu


Oct. 15, 2013


USU Extension Official Secures Grant Nearing $800,000


Brian Higginbotham, Utah State University Extension associate vice president and Extension family life specialist, recently secured a grant for $785,000 to continue his Smart Steps to Healthy Relationships in Utah program. Higginbotham is project director, and the funding will support Smart Steps for Stepfamilies and the How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk/ette courses taught throughout the state.


The grant continues what is already in motion from previous Healthy Relationship grants and a 10-year Healthy Marriage Initiative spearheaded by the Utah Commission on Marriage and USU. The relationship courses are offered via partnerships with community family support centers and the Utah Department of Workforce Services as part of an overall strategy to promote healthy relationships.


“With a state divorce rate that is higher than the national average and adults marrying and remarrying much younger than the national averages, this project entails several steps toward the goal of helping Utahns improve their knowledge, skills and satisfaction in relationships,” Higginbotham said.


People want to have happy relationships but often struggle to make them happen, he said. This grant allows for free, research-based courses that teach people how to navigate relationships successfully.


Research on the courses has documented improvements in participants’ communication, parenting and conflict-management skills. 


“The impact on their relationship quality and satisfaction is notable and so is the demand for classes,” Higginbotham said. “Each year nearly 100 relationship education courses are offered around the state and they are filled with people from all walks and stages of life. Yet, regardless of whether they are old or young, single or in a relationship, thinking about marriage or contemplating divorce, people come away with valuable relationship tools.”


A listing of courses in participating counties can be found at www.HealthyRelationshipsUtah.organd www.stepfamily.usu.edu.

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