Couples Work Together in “Synergy” at Retreat


Couples participate in PREP activity at Synergy

Navasota, Tx–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley (SFBV) hosted Synergy: Marriage and Relationship retreat in Navasota this past weekend.

Couples and individuals participated in interactive workshops which focused on dedication, self-exploration, skill-building, friendship and commitment. In addition, participants received tools which they could use to help them to create and maintain healthy relationships and families.

Peggy Richardson-Johnson enjoyed the two-day retreat and hate her husband couldn’t attend. “We have been married for 20+ years but today I learned how to communicate effectively, work as a team to resolve problems and to recognize hidden issues before it develops into a large or an unmanageable issue. I will utilize the tools presented today in my relationship to enhance my relationship with my husband, Harry”  said, Johnson.

This was the third retreat hosted by SFBV in 2017 and over 55 couples attended the retreat making it the largest ever. Chasitdy Love, Grimes County Coordinator said, ” The retreat was a success thanks to all of the hard work of SFBV’s team. We reached out to couples and individuals not only in Navasota but across the Brazos Valley. I hope the couples, after attending the retreat will have increased understanding and procedures for a flourishing relationship.  I hope they will take home and use the tools given for self-development, communication, conflict management , and relationship enhancement.”

Participants were also treated to catered meals and many walked away with great giveaways donated by local businesses in Navasota and Bryan-College Station.

The retreat is totally funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Plans are already underway for the next  retreat which will be held in 2018 in Burleson County.


SFBV’s Second Retreat a Huge Success



Hearne, Tx–Some Robertson County couples went to church over the weekend…not to save their souls but to “save” or enhance their relationships.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley hosted their second marriage and relationship retreat at The First Baptist Church in Hearne. The two-day retreat featured PREP[Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program]–Successful relationships. Successful lives.

Couples participated in sessions of interactive workshops to learn how to resolve conflict, communicate effectively, to identify issues and hidden issues as well as to have fun and to embrace their individual personality in their relationship. Shevonne and Michael Phillips said they were glad to attend the retreat and the sessions were beneficial. “My favorite session was the Speaker Listener Technique. We are guilty of paraphrasing what’s being said before it’s actually “said” and learning to listen first before thinking about a response or how to respond as that person is talking.  My wife and I will start practicing that technique in our relationship.”, said Micheal Phillips.

The retreat hoped to provide couples with the tools they need to create and maintain healthy families and relationships. SFBV’s Dr. Lakshmi “Hema” Mahadevan, Quality Control, said, “This retreat was very successful. Couples enthusiastically participated in activities that were both one-on-one and with the group. Additionally, participants comments indicated that couples were learning new ways of improving their relationships and were looking forward to incorporating what they had learned in the future.”

Couples were also treated to three catered meals and many won fabulous door prizes donated by local businesses in Hearne and Bryan-College Station.

Synergy was held in Brazos County back in March and will be hosted in Burleson, Grimes and Madison counties in the near future.

The retreat was fully funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.











FunFest Gives Over 300 Free Backpacks to B-CS kiddos


College Station, TX–Summer Break is almost over and most children in the Brazos Valley will start school in a few weeks. To help parents, several local agencies found a way to assist families and students as they prepare for the new school year.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service [ Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition], Big Brothers Big Sisters, TxDot and Central Baptist Church joined forces to present Back to School Family FunFest on August 8th at the Family Life Center of Central Baptist in College Station.

The event helped nearly 300 kids to prepare for the new school year by providing items such as backpacks, identification cards and health screenings.

Cindy Kovar, Project Coordinator II for BVIPC, said, “The purpose of the event is to provide parents and guardians with information about safety and health issues as well as information about resources that are available in the community for families and children.

The event started in 2014 and has grown in the areas of participants and donations according to Kovar. “The community partnerships and the passion of the staff of SFBV & BVIPC to reach out into the community has been instrumental in growing the event. The event now hosted for four years has helped staff learn how to prepare for and facilitate the event.”

In addition,  over 100 local agencies were on hand to provide nearly 200 parents with information and community services and resources.

SFBV Attends National Conference


Bryan,Tx–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley participated in Every Victim, Every Time’s 11th Annual Conference in Bryan at the Brazos County Expo Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-day conference provided law enforcement, prosecutors, medical staff, teachers, social services agencies, mental health professionals and other agencies working with crime victims an opportunity to explore and learn valuable information about victim issues related to the criminal justice system.

Laurie Naumann, SFBV’s Program Manager, presented  a workshop on ACEs[Adverse Childhood Experiences that can leave tremendous, lasting effects on children’s health and well-being].  “I hope those in attendance came away with a better understanding of what adverse childhood experiences are and how both children and adults, including themselves, can be affected by them. I also hope that they acquired some tools that will help them be more effective in their work when dealing with people who have experienced ACEs–whether victim or perpetrator,” said Naumann.

SFBV also had a presence in the Exhibit Hall of the Expo Center. Staff members greeted , introduced the SFBV project and handed out goody bags to the more than 700 attendees.

SFBV is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. The project serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.


Couples get ‘Synergized’ at SFBV’S Marriage Retreat


Bryan, Tx–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley hosted Synergy: Marriage Retreat on Friday and Saturday in Bryan at Rivergate Church.  The retreat was designed to provide tools for couples and engaged couples for better communicating and understanding each other’s needs, appreciation of the value each person brings to the marriage team as well as methods to avoid and resolve conflict.

More than 50 couples attended the two-day event and participated in educational courses [PREP: Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program] presented by SFBV staff.  Candis Kelley and fiance, Roy Washington attended the retreat and are planning to marry in August of this year. ” We learned so much about each other and how to communicate effectively.  We both will apply the tools that were presented in order to maintain a healthy marriage,” said Kelley.

The retreat was a success and goals were achieved according to Nancy Winn, SFBV’s Brazos County Program Coordinator. “With the help of my colleagues, the goal was no different than what the preface of Prep stated…teaching couples about relationship risks and strategies for lowering risks; concepts and risk models. The bonus was having a fun and receptive group,” said Winn.

Participants were treated to catered meals, gift cards, marriage license discounts, SFBV’s photo booth and some couples won great door prizes!

SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to create and maintain healthy families.

The marriage retreat will also be held in Burleson, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties at a future date.

The project is funded is provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.



SFBV participates in Family Day Fair


HEARNE, TX–Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley participated in Project Unity’s Family Information Day on Thursday, February 28th in Hearne.

John Naron, Interim City Manager of Hearne, said, ” The purpose of the event is to inform Robertson County residents that there are agencies and people who care and monies out there to assist with their basic needs from utilities to family health.”

More than 15 agencies and organizations provided resources in the areas of health, nutrition, finance, family and healthy relationships to parents who attended the event.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The project seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to maintain healthy families.

For more information about the SFBV project, please contact or



Magazine gives “Insite” on SFBV project


BRYAN,TX–INSITE Magazine hosted a launch party on February 9th in downtown Bryan.

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley project was featured in the February edition.  The event took place at the scenic SEAD Gallery, where over 100 community leaders, organizations and guests attended.

“We [SFBV] are too excited to have our project featured in INSITE. It’s great exposure for our project and to inform our communities about what our project has to offer,” said Joe McGinty, Marketing Coordinator with SFBV.

SFBV is hosting a wedding conference for couples of the Brazos Valley. The two-day conference will be held on March 31st and April 1st in Bryan.

Conference registration and more information can be obtained at (979)845-1146, or





Madison County celebrates the end of parenting classes



Madison County participants of the Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley parenting class celebrated the completion of the nearly 7 weeks course on Monday, December 19 in Madisonville, Tx.

Major Ricardo DeJesus, United States Air Force, was the guest speaker and he spoke to the participants about stress and anger that are associated with parenting.

Parents received their certificates of completion and children were treated to a special Christmas gift and backpacks. The evening ended with a Flamenco dance performance by Brianna DeJesus-Banos.

SFBV serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.

Wi$eUp, Family Financial Management project will get underway in Madison County in January, 2017!

Funding for the project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.




Grimes County residents complete SFBV’s parenting class



Parenting isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You’re in it for the long haul and there will be plenty of challenges along the way!

Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley wrapped up its first ever parenting class in Navasota, Tx on Friday. Grimes County participants enjoyed a catered meal and cake to celebrate the ending of the 7 weeks course.

Eloise Morris, parent and participant, received her certificate of completion and said Grimes County needed this type of program and wants to encourage more parents to attend SFBV’s program next year. ” I learned so many new ways and effective techniques when it comes to discipline children.  When my children are having temper tantrums, I’ve learned to wait until they have calmed down and then discuss consequences for their actions. Before, I would get into a shouting match which only added fuel to the fire. I also learned to reward them for their “good” behavior.”

Chasitdy Love, Grimes County Program Coordinator said, “participants were very attentive and excited about learning to communicate better with their children.”  Love hopes they were able to learn better discipline techniques and to improve relationships between parents and their children from attending the class.

“I’ve learned how to manage children better when they are being “bad” and to teach them how to reduce negative thinking.” “Mrs. Love was a great teacher and she made the classes interesting and I’m looking forward to the upcoming classes.” said Vikirenaa Calhoun.

Family Financial Management [Wi$eUp] classes will be offered in 2017.

SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension that seeks to provide couples and individuals with the tools they need to create and maintain health families.

The project serves Burleson, Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Robertson counties.

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.







Narro brings Strengthening Families classes to county



Caldwell’s Holly Suehs Narro is the new Burleson County program
coordinator for Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley (SFBV).
SFBV is a project within the Family and Community Health unit of Texas
A&M AgriLife Extension and the program is funded through the Department
of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Assistance.

SFBV offers three workshops and classsies throughout the year, including a one-day marriage/relationship(PREP) workshop, an eight-week parenting series (one evening a week for eight weeks) and an eight-week family financial management series(one evening a week for eight weeks).

PREP is a marriage and relationship education workshop that teaches
couples how to communicate effectively, work as a team to solve problems,
manage confl icts and preserve and enhance commitment and friendship. It also teaches single individuals about positive relationship skills.

The first PREP workshop was on Oct. 15, andNarro said it was extremely
successful. The participants had positive feedback and were most appreciative
that the program was offered close to home in Caldwell, Narro said.

The parenting program is a family skills training program that covers effective discipline techniques, managing stress, how to improve family communication
and problem-solving. It is designed to improve relationships between parents and children. The parenting series will begin on Monday, Nov. 7. This class is already full. However, the next class series will be in the spring, and registration
has already begun.

The family financial management program Wi$eUp promotes financial security through education and skills training, and covers topics such as money math, how to track spending and setting financial goals, learn about credit, saving, and investing and how to plan for retirement. The family financial management series will begin in January 2017, and registration has begun.

Narro said that SFBV in Burleson County hopes to become a highly respected program to help individuals, couples and families achieve their goals in maintaining a healthy family and to provide them with the tools to do so.

Narro said, “These classes and workshops are not just for families in crisis situations. They are for anyone, parents and families, to gain knowledge and
learn useful tools to help them in their personal relationships and with
their children.” “I learn something new each time I teach a class or workshop,” Narro said. Narro said that the community’s response to the program has been

Narro said she is grateful for “the positive feedback and overwhelmingly positive response to the Strengthening Families Program in Burleson County. This program is going to grow and do great things for the families in Burleson County because of the tremendous support.”

Narro is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in health. Narro has worked for many years as a health
and community educator for St. Joseph Regional Health Center and most
recently worked for the Burleson County Extension Office.

Narro is excited to implement SFBV in her home area of Burleson County. She has strong ties to Burleson County and has lived in Caldwell her entire life, and her family has lived here for many generations. Narro said she truly cares about the communities in Burleson County and the families who live within the county, and she looks forward to serving them.

Preregistration is required to attend any workshops and class series.
All classes are free, and include a meal and free childcare. Classes are held at various locations around Burleson County. For more information about SFBV or to register for upcoming workshops and classes, visit: or contact Narro at (979) 567-2312 or email