Editor's note: This is the ninth in a series of stories highlighting the 21 agencies to receive United Way's annual campaign funds. The next article will run in Tuesday's edition of The Telegram.


Special to The Telegram

Having a strong, healthy marriage is a key factor in raising successful children, according to Catholic Social Service.

That's why Catholic Social Service will use its United Way funds to help strengthen marriages through a program called Marriage for Keeps.

Deborah Snapp, executive director of Catholic Social Service, said Marriage for Keeps has been offered for five years. The goal of the program is to strengthen communication between spouses and help make a marriage better.

"It's about making life better for the children, ultimately," Snapp said.

Catholic Social Service is one of 21 agencies that will receive funding from the Finney County United Way. The organization has requested $9,000 from the United Way.

Marriage for Keeps provides marriage education classes covering communication, problem solving, stress management and commitment. It is not marriage counseling or therapy, and is also a non-faith based program.

Snapp said Catholic Social Service will use the money to fund classes and extended marriage activities for Marriage for Keeps.

Couples attend the class once a week for 10 weeks. The class is free.

"It's for anybody who is married who just wants to do something to make their marriage better," Snapp said. "The focus is primarily on communication skills."

Just like people take their car in for maintenance, she said, relationships also need maintenance.

Snapp said more than 200 people a year benefit from Marriage for Keeps. She said research shows that strong marriages contribute to a healthy, stable and satisfying life. Healthy marriages also are shown to reduce poverty, child abuse and neglect, prevent social service interventions and increase job stability.

For more information about participating in Marriage for Keeps, call 272-0010.

The United Way has raised about 21 percent, or $116,462, of its goal of $550,000. Consuelo Sandoval, executive director of the Finney

County United Way, said she hopes to have the money raised by the second week of December.

Sandoval said the United Way will start making presentations to small businesses this week in Finney County to solicit donations.

Sandoval said she hopes people understand that without funding from the United Way, many of the agencies wouldn't be able to offer services.

Other agencies that will benefit from the 2012 United Way funds include: Finney County RSVP; Kansas Children's Service League; Santa Fe Trail Council Boy Scouts; Smart Start; Playground Program; Family Crisis Services; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; The Salvation Army; Meals on Wheels; Habitat for Humanity; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; Community Day Care; and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Catholic Social Service

Director: Deborah Snapp

Address: 603 N. Eighth St.

Phone: 272-0010

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday