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Hope Place hosts couples seminar

Hope Place Family Resource Center provided a special experience for couples this past weekend.

Entitled, “Elevate with Your Mate,” the special pre-Valentine’s Day seminar was a time for all couples to “take relationship skills to the next level.”

Hosted at the Destiny Worship Center in Atmore, couples from Flomaton, Brewton, and Atmore gathered for the all-day event led by husband and wife, Dr. Bernard Bishop and Dr. Felicia Bishop.

“Being able to do elevate classes is an opportunity to help couples build their relationship.  That is one thing that we are inspired to do even within ourselves because we’ve been there for 22 years,” said Felicia.

Co-leading the group with her husband, Felicia asked the group what they expected to gain from the seminar. She herself hoped to encourage the couples in attendance. “You learn a lot in a relationship, you learn the importance of working together,” added Felicia.

The free relationship classes are in conjunction with the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative which is funded by a 5-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Assistance.

AHMREI is a large-scale partnership among Auburn University and 9 additional implementation partners at Family Resource Centers and local referral partners including the Hope Place Family Resource Center located in Brewton.

A unique opportunity, the Bishops see the seminar as a tool to help couples in their relationships. “I am really excited about this month’s class, because it has a Valentine theme. Elevate with your mate pre Valentine seminar.  We are just giving them some tools that they can use to help build the foundation they have already made,” said Felicia. Felicia considered the inclusive spirit of the class most beneficial for all. She explained, “It is not just geared towards someone that is married. This is an opportunity for all couples to come.”

Bernard shared what he loves most about the seminars. “This is our third time teaching this.

It is geared toward helping your relationship. We have couples that come that are doing well, that have a great relationship, they just want to take it to the next level.” The couple help other achieve this “next level,” by teaching core relationship skills.

“They receive a workbook that they can go home with. We challenge them to devise a plan,” said Felicia.

During the seminar, couples were invited to fill out surveys, and provide information to access the relationships. “We do engage the students at points when we are teaching. We do stop and allow time for discussion,” said Bernard.

According to Felicia, the blessing from the entire event is seeing the diversity of couples that participate. “I love seeing a range of couples that come. How many couples are going to come, what age, how long you have been dating or married. One class we had a couple that had been married 41 years and others we have seen couples that are in 3 months dating,” explained Felicia.

No matter the age or years together, the seminar seems to make a difference. Felicia concluded, “I just love that everyone is interested and wants to build that relationship. It is never too late to continue to build on what you have.”