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    Strong Bonds Make Resilient Families

    Strong Bonds Make Resilient Families

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Salli Sablan | Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain led program but is not religion based, nor is...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Salli Sablan 

    California National Guard

    The California Army National Guard Chaplain’s office supported nearly 30 couples for the Strong Bonds Couples Program, Jan 25–28, in San Jose, California. The program’s mission: to increase Soldier and Family Readiness through relationship education and skills training.

    The program is not religion based, even though it is chaplain led, nor is it couples therapy. During the weekend, couples with 4 months to 27 years of marriage voluntarily participated in exercises aimed at building relationship resiliency and developing strong communication. The program’s training workbooks allow for continued study, discussion and reflection so progress can continue at home, when the retreat ends.

    “I think people would be surprised that Strong Bonds programs are actually fun and invigorating where participants can rediscover themselves and each other,” said Chaplain Instructor (Capt.) Injoon Choi. The old saying, "The grass is greener on the other side," isn't all it's cracked up to be, and we just need a reminder that we just need to put some care in our own garden,” said Choi, also Chaplain for the 224th Sustainment Brigade.

    The offsite, retreat format is designed as a ‘get away’ and provides an emotionally safe and secure training environment where military lifestyle stressors can be addressed. Command funding allows military members to be placed on orders and attend with their spouses because strong families are just that important.

    Children were also invited to get away and enjoy lively, free, on-site child care thus, allowing for parents to relax and focus on each other. This event was held at San Jose’s Hays Mansion and included complimentary and upscale lodging, gourmet meals, and a mandatory date night. Retreat locations are scouted around the state to be desirable, engaging, and relaxing.

    “Recent studies have proven this program is the most effective DoD offered training for relationship skills, which has proven highly valuable for healthy dating relationships, healthy marriages and healthy relationships with children,” said State Chaplain Col. Wes Clare.

    “As a result, Strong Bonds training has proven to be one of our most effective programs in suicide prevention. In my 22 years of pastoral experience, I have seen that about 90% of the suicides or cases of suicidal ideation I have dealt with involved a failed relationship as a significant catalyst,” said Clare.

    The Program has been in existence since 1997 and includes four programs besides the Couples Program. The ‘Single-Soldiers’ helps Warriors build resilient relationships and choose partners wisely. ‘Families’ offers training for couples and singles with children to bond and parent well. ‘Deployment’ ensures relationships thrive across long distances and during the turbulence before and after deployment. Below are dates for upcoming Strong Bonds Programs.



    Date Taken: 02.13.2019
    Date Posted: 02.13.2019 19:42
    Story ID: 310642
    Location: SACRAMENTO, CA, US 

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