Forest Wortham, Wittenberg's director of multicultural students programs, envisions great things for the program, which has included multiple workshops. Wortham said he was "impressed that two women, Cate Downing and Christina Irwin, who lived together, independently came to me to initiate the ‘Within My Reach' program."
Wortham added, "These two women were on the same wavelength."
Along with Downing, class of 2008 from Norwalk, Ohio, and Irwin, class of 2008 from Bexley, Ohio, Andrea Singer, class of 2008 from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, who is a leader in the W.A.G.E. Womyn's Center, also helped bring the program to Wittenberg. Downing said the program is intended to help women "develop smart communication skills, learn about conflict management and apply healthy decision-making processes to any type of relationship."
"These types of workshops are important today because we live in a generation that communicates through bits, instant messages and texting," Wortham said. "The program teaches people how to look at not only high-tech communication but also high touch. People need to learn how to communicate face to face."
Downing was inspired to develop the program after attending the Marriage Resource Center's "Can I Kiss You" forum at Wittenberg last fall. The students kicked off the "Within My Reach" program with a workshop earlier this month because they "wanted to learn more about how to develop healthy relationship skills that could be applied to present relationships as well as future relationships," Downing said.
Downing feels the Marriage Resource Center is "an untapped resource that is conveniently located by campus." The center, located just blocks from Wittenberg, has resources, programs and a staff dedicated to promoting strong, stable relationships.
Through this program Downing wants Wittenberg students to utilize the personal development opportunities available in Springfield. She added that "the relationship skills class is just one of the many opportunities offered."
After the women graduate in May they hope the program continues.
"A lot of people showed interest this year, and I think we got the word out about the program," Irwin said. She added that she would also like to see a men's group formed at Wittenberg in the future.
The overall message Downing feels the "Within My Reach" program brings to Wittenberg is that "every person has the ability to develop happy, healthy and stable relationships."
Written By: Sydney Bates '08
Photo By: Robert Gantt
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