Since 2006, we have served over 60,000 individuals, couples and students. In a two-year follow up survey of participants completing our programs, 94% of married participants remained married, 36% of couples and 32% of individuals income increased,
Two-thirds of participants originally on public aid stopped receiving entitlements, individuals reported improved relationship skills, marital satisfaction rates and less incidents of domestic violence. Below are some stories of couples impacted by our programs.
Patricio Briceño & Norma Alfaro
Thirteen years into their marriage, Patricio and Norma were about to call it quits. Their relationship was plagued by fights and domestic violence. In a last attempt at change, they began attending St. Pius Church where they were referred to a Family Bridges couples workshop. Patricio was impressed with the classes. Everything the instructor said applied to his life. The teachers challenged him to change and gave him tools for more peaceful and productive communication. Norma also started attending a women’s group where she was finally able to talk about the difficult realities of her marriage. Through the classes, she learned to better understand men — especially the “machismo” mindset. She met other women with similar struggles in their marriages, they were able to encourage and learn from one another. With all this training and counseling, Patricio and Norma experienced improved communication and restored trust. They even started going on dates again! As their bond with each other strengthened, Patricio and Norma were also able to restore their entire family. They asked their daughters for forgiveness for their old behavior patterns, and a new healing work began in their family. “Before, I was completely unhappy,” Patricio says. “Now, I am happy.” Norma added, “before, I lived in darkness. Now, I have a light and safe way to the future.”
Roman & Elia Correon
Roman and Elia Carreon came to St. Pius for help navigating their divorce. Specifically, they wanted help preparing their children. At that point, divorce was about the only thing Roman and Elia agreed upon. Due to generational problems in his family, Roman never learned to express his feelings. His past suffering made him seem strong, but his troubled family still had a strong influence on Roman. Roman and Elia felt very different from one another. Roman was permissive with their kids, and Elia was not. The entire family was frustrated, and Elia wanted to leave. Roman didn’t believe in counseling, so help was out of the question. Then, 15 years into their marriage, the couple was rocked by infidelity. Divorce seemed inevitable. But the counselors at St. Pius sent the couple to a year of classes about domestic violence, the differences between men and women, and effective communication. Their children attended counseling too. At the classes, Roman and Elia learned alternatives to their negative patterns. As their hearts softened, they started to change. Eventually they forgave each other and started falling in love again. Then Roman and Elia began attending a couples class, where they learned effective communication as well as the ingredients they consider key to their marriage’s restoration: perseverance, love, seeing the good in the other person, determination, knowledge, and recognition of individual mistakes. Today the Carreons mentor other couples. And two years ago they renewed their marriage covenant – in the very church where they sought help for the divorce they’re glad they never got.
Victor and Aurora Godoy
Even though they had been married for 27 years, Victor and Aurora Godoy were often fighting. So when they heard about Family Bridges, they decided to give it a try, hoping it would improve their relationship. The program helped the couple tremendously with their communication. Victor now recognizes that he didn’t know how to talk to his wife. Before, he was demanding and argumentative; now he’s polite, always saying “please” and “thank you.” Aurora says she understands her husband better now, and even gets along better with their sons. Victor and Aurora, who are originally from Peru, say the program gave them a deep respect for the differences between men and women – in values, characteristics, and communication styles. The couple has been involved with the program for three years now, and it has given them tools for better communication. They learned negotiation skills, techniques for communicating what they mean, and the importance of listening. The program also challenged Victor to examine his priorities. In the past he was only focused on his job. But the workshops taught him to have balance, to take time for his family, and to reexamine his values and foundation. He says the program has been a blessing to both him and his family. All this learning has enabled the couple to help other people, including their three children and five grandchildren. Victor and Aurora say the results of Family Bridges programming in their life have been incredible.