Culturally relevant programming in action
Erwin, Patricia Louise
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The purpose of this study was to understand how a preventive intervention, specifically a marriage education program, was designed to meet the needs of African American couples. The research questions were: 1) What are the common components of a culturally relevant program designed for African American couples? 2) What program delivery methods were most effective given the topic and the participant group? Data were collected through semi-structured interviews conducted with Program staff members. Additionally, data collection included observation of the video modules used throughout the curriculum as well as observation one of the videotaped program sessions. Document analysis of promotional materials and program literature was also used for data collection. There were four main themes that reflect the key dimensions of a marriage education program designed for African American couples. These features shaped the design of the program and impacted the way that the intervention was implemented in the community. These emergent themes are: mirroring the cultural/lived experiences of African Americans; honoring African and African American based patterns and traditions; the intergenerational transmission of knowledge; and the importance of experiential knowledge. The sub themes associated with each of these major themes are also presented. There were two major conclusions from this study: 1) Culturally relevant programs designed for African Americans should include and or reflect their African American cultural values and lived experiences; 2) The program delivery methods that were effective for the participants in the African American Marriage Program were techniques that were collaborative and under girded with an understanding of the endemic nature and impact of race and racism.