February 8, 2019

In the wake of the government shutdown, which caused financial stress for hundreds of thousands furloughed federal workers and their families, Good Morning Washington spotlighted the TOGETHER Program, which helps clients manage financial stress and build lasting relationships through a combination of financial education and couples counseling.

The program, which works with adult couples in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and across northern Virginia, is a program of Virginia Tech in partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park. It was founded by Mariana Falconier and Jinhee Kim, both professors in the School of Public Health’s Department of Family Science who research financial stress and its impact on relationships. Their overarching goal is to promote healthy family relationships, personal well-being, effective parenting, and employment and financial stability in our communities. The program provides counseling support for enrolled couples, and also has a research component that will help inform future intervention components.

The morning show, which aired this week on WJLA, featured two of the program’s group facilitators, certified financial counselor Nikki Pruett and marriage and family therapist Christopher Davies.

“One of the things we teach in the program is how to manage your own stress but also how to work together to decrease each other’s stress, instead of adding to it,” Davies told host Julie Wright.

Davies said the weekly workshop also discusses healthy parenting tips and offers case managers to help with any issues related to housing, food, education, healthcare and employment.

Interested couples can learn more about the program here.

Watch the segment below:

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How couples can improve their financial literacy and management

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Jinhee Kim