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ProSAAM :: Program for Strong African American Marriages
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Communities of Faith: Church aims to aid marriages Expansion sought of program created for black couples

By Candice Hannigan
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/01/07

Zion Baptist Church is taking the lead in promoting a program to strengthen African-American marriages.

The Marietta church hosted a workshop recently to inform African-American couples about a program created at the University of Georgia to strengthen their marriages.

It's one of the first steps in encouraging Cobb churches to take a look at the curriculum, called Program for Strengthening African American Marriages (or ProSAAM). "We are very impressed with the program because it deals with couples. That's where so many problems originate —- in the home," said the Rev. Evelyn Taylor.

"It's a spiritual program based on prayer that teaches couples how to get along and pray for each other."

Taylor added that even the men who were hesitant about participating agreed that they were glad they did.

ProSAAM is a curriculum designed to help couples committed to sustaining their relationships, and it addresses issues important to African-Americans. The program is in the research phase now, and participants have been asked to take part in four in-home interviews to discuss their marriage, family life, and individual well-being.

Program coordinator Tera Hurt expects the research to be completed by the end of 2008 but said plans are under way to launch the marriage workshops in area churches by next summer. Training will be made available to those interested in facilitating.

The program began a year ago in northeast Georgia and has already involved about 300 couples, according to Hurt. A modified version of the ProSAAM curriculum is being presented through a project called Promoting Strong Families, also available to faith groups.

Taylor hopes to contact area African-American congregations to create interest in ProSAAM. She's working to generate enough interest in the Cobb area to set up couples' workshops at Zion Baptist. "If there's anything that we can do in the church that strengthens marriage, that's what we want to do," Taylor said. "That's where a lot of our problems are in the African-American community."

For more information, contact Taylor at 770-427-5856 or Tera R. Hurt at 706-542-7015, prosaam@uga.edu, or www.uga.edu/prosaam for marriages and www.uga.edu/prosaaf for strong families project.