The Relationship Foundation aims to establish relationship education as an essential component of the learning process. We do this by providing high school students with programs in which they can explore the fundamentals of building healthy relationships with each other, their teachers, family members and themselves.
Our flagship course, Healthy Relationships 101, encourages students to examine issues that are rarely addressed in-depth, including self-confidence, bullying, modern gender roles, cellphone addiction, and how social networks and media impact the way we engage in relationships. Through methods including discussion, interactive exercises, research and journaling, students are given an opportunity to articulate their needs, which aids in the development of a vocabulary that empowers them to effectively relate to others and themselves.
While this course is intended to answer the needs of teenagers, its impact is much broader. Teachers commented that after a Healthy Relationships 101 course, they saw greater participation in the classroom and a transformation in how the students interact with one another and the teachers. Studies on similar programs for K-8 students have shown not only improvements in behavior, but also in test scores*. We are developing metrics to see if a correlation between our course and improved academic performance emerges. A teacher at the renowned Harlem Children’s Zone described the program as “life-altering.” We at the Relationship Foundation believe that partnering with educators to give teenagers the long-term life skills for expressing themselves in a healthy and respectful way will improve the society in which we live.
* Jones, S. M., Brown, J. L. and Lawrence Aber, J. (2011), Two-Year Impacts of a Universal School-Based Social-Emotional and Literacy Intervention: An Experiment in Translational Developmental Research. Child Development, 82: 533–554.