Supporting Healthy Relationships (SHR) Program
Empowering couples to strengthen family bonds
Montefiore-Einstein’s Supporting Healthy Relationships (SHR) is a FREE program designed to empower low-income couples to achieve family success, by improving their communication skills, learning how to reduce destructive conflict, and gaining financial stability. Funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), and led by a team of psychologists and mental health counselors, SHR provides families with a supportive, safe community where they can obtain the skills and resources to develop strong and committed relationships and overcome barriers to achieving financial health.
Our SHR program helps to address major life questions:
- Do you want to strengthen your relationship and become closer as a family?
- Do you and your partner need support navigating the struggles of parenthood?
- Do you need to find a way to achieve financial stability for your family’s future?
This program is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $7.5M with 100% funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official view of, or an endorsement by, ACF/HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit the ACF website, Administrative and National Policy Requirements. These services are available to all eligible persons, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or religion.
Zero-Cost Program Eligibility
SHR is free of charge. You may be eligible to participate if:
- You are 18 or older
- You are in a committed relationship
- You are expecting a child (biological, adopted, or fostered) or you have at least one child under 18 living at home (the child can be biologically related, adopted, or fostered)
Montefiore’s Supporting Healthy Relationships Program is an LGBTQIA+ affirming program. We provide culturally-sensitive workshops and services for all couples, including sexual and gender minority couples.
We are here to help! We want to get to know you and help support you in building a solid foundation for your family.
We provide our services in BOTH English and Spanish so families will find a supportive, safe community where they can obtain the skills and resources to develop strong, committed relationships, and overcome barriers to achieving financial health. Services are provided both in-person and virtually via Zoom, determined as required by the research study.
Our workshops provide an opportunity to develop and practice relationship skills through discussion, teaching, and peer-to-peer learning with the help of clinically trained psychologists and mental health counselors.
Our workshops are like a DATE NIGHT! When in-person, we serve a catered meal (dinner is on us!), and it’s a great opportunity for couples to spend quality time together, away from their children, and focus on their relationship. Couples especially enjoy meeting and learning from other couples in the community in a relaxed environment. We assist with childcare reimbursement, and provide round-trip Metrocards to help with transportation.
Workshops are facilitated by 2 relationship coaches, and are delivered once a week for 10 weeks, in a group format to 4-15 couples. Daytime, evening, and weekend workshops available. Our curricula are based on 20+ years of research by relationship and parenting experts, such as psychologists John Gottman and Sue Johnson. Our workshops are delivered either in-person or virtually via Zoom. When in-person, our workshops are usually delivered at our South Bronx headquarters, but we also provide our services at other locations throughout New York.
Date Nights, Booster Sessions, and Supplemental Activities
Our core workshops are supplemented by additional workshops (on topics such as stress management, anger management, budgeting, and infidelity) and social events (such as game nights, karaoke nights, paint nights, and family holiday parties) that we host about once a month. We also provide support groups on a regular basis.
Family Support Services
We work with you to find community resources and services to address any family stressors. We are partnered with many community-based organizations who assist our families in obtaining legal support, health care, food pantries, mental health services, and more.
Our employment team helps your family gain financial stability with the goal to achieve financial mobility. Through individual career counseling, weekly English and Spanish skills-building workshops, job search strategies, resume building, networking, and interviewing, we can help you take the next steps toward finding and maintaining employment. We can also help you obtain the training, certification, or degree that you need to further your career goals. In addition, clients who find new employment, or who receive a promotion, while enrolled in our program, will receive transportation assistance and financial incentives after 30, 60, and 90 days of maintaining their new job.
Couples Ambassador Program
The Couples Ambassador Program (CAP) aims to streamline the process in which graduated SHR couples refer new couples and provide mentorship/support to reinforce engagement in the program. Mentoring is a structured and trusted relationship that matches new couples seeking to improve their relationship with couples who have found success within Supporting Healthy Relationships and are committed to encourage and support the growth of the mentees and their relationships. This is done through mentors' avid participation in workshop mentorship, hosting of support groups, and coordination of family events.
CAP couples are passionate about providing support for new couples, while strengthening their relationship and refreshing their communication skills.
Couples must participate in an in-person intake process in order to enroll in the program. We also often host Open Houses where you can learn more about our program and hear testimonials from couples who have graduated from the program. Contact us to find out when we are having our next Open House or find out more information.
After getting in contact with us, the next steps in the intake process may include:
- Phone Screen
You will complete a brief phone screen and then be scheduled for an in-person intake to take place at our South Bronx headquarters or one of our partner sites.
The intake, which will take 1-2 hours, includes two interviews with a relationship coach and family support specialist and survey completion. Both partners must be present at the intake interviews.
- Workshop Enrollment
Provided that you complete the intake process and the program is a good fit for you and your partner, you will be enrolled in one of our upcoming workshop series.
Once enrolled in our program, you have access to our services for ONE YEAR. This includes:
- Family Support Services and Employment Services
- Supplemental Workshops and Social Events
- Booster sessions. All enrolled couples are encouraged to meet with a relationship educator periodically to augment their workshop participation.
- 6-Month Follow-Up. All enrolled couples will be invited back 6 months after their intake date for a booster session and to complete additional surveys, which enables couples to reflect on their progress in the program.
- Incentives and Reimbursements. All enrolled couples receive childcare reimbursement and other financial incentives for completing surveys and program participation milestones, and transportation assistance and financial incentives for job placement.
**To receive any of the above additional services, you must attend one of the core relationship/parenting education workshop series.**
Learn More About Our SHR Program
If you are interested in referring an eligible couple, call one of our recruiters and provide the couple’s contact information so we can reach out to them directly.
- 18 or older
- In a committed relationship
- Expecting a child (biological, adopted, or fostered) or have at least one child under 18 living at home (the child can be biologically related, adopted, or fostered)
Montefiore’s Supporting Healthy Relationships Program is an LGBTQIA+ affirming program. We provide culturally- sensitive workshops and services for all couples, including sexual and gender minority couples.
Contact Us for More Information
For Potential Community Partners
- Does your organization serve low-income families in the Bronx, or any marginalized community in New York City or the tri-state area?
- Could your clients benefit from FREE services focused on strengthening families through relationship education?
- Does your organization provide relationship and/or parenting support, but need assistance with or training in delivering a more structured curriculum?
We have partnered with many organizations in the Bronx, New York City, and elsewhere in the tri-state area to bring our services to more families in need. We have facilitated our workshops wherever there are families who fit our eligibility criteria, as long as the organization can assist with recruitment and provide a space to deliver the intervention. We can also tailor our curriculum and structure our workshop format to fit the unique needs of your clients.
Meet Our Team Members
Traci Maynigo, Psy.D.
Traci is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in couple and family therapy, multicultural psychology, maternal mental health, and relationship and parenting education. She has a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP), Rutgers University. She has specialized training in Gottman Method Couple Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), and is also a Certified Bringing Baby Home (BBH) Educator, PREP 8.0 Instructor, and 24/7 Dad Facilitator. An Attending Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Einstein College at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Traci’s research focuses on adapting couple-, family-, and group-based interventions for diverse, underserved populations. She is currently the Program Director of two family strengthening programs: HERO Dads and Supporting Healthy Relationships. In her free time, Traci enjoys singing, dancing, writing, and running around with her kids. She and her husband live in Queens with their two children and dog.
To contact Dr. Maynigo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moshe Moeller, Ph.D.
Associate Program Director
Moshe is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in cross-cultural fatherhood, parenting, couples, family and group therapy, and paternal mental health. He is also an Attending Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Over the past decade he has been conducting and presenting fatherhood and relationship education research and has been providing clinical services for fathers and families from diverse backgrounds. Moshe received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Queens College and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology. He has specialized training in psychodynamic therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) and Gottman Method Couple Therapy and is a Certified PREP 8.0 Instructor and 24/7 Dad Facilitator. Moshe also holds a faculty position at Adelphi University. Outside of work, he enjoys playing piano, spending time outdoors, reading, cooking, painting, and spending time with his family. Moshe and his wife live in Stony Point, NY with their 3 children.
To contact Dr. Moeller, please email email@example.com.
Yerson F. Torres Cubillos, M.Ed.
Workshop Facilitator & Quality Assurance Specialist
Yerson is a bilingual workshop facilitator who provides effective and flexible training spaces for families in both English and Spanish. Yerson is also responsible for the oversight and implementation of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). He evaluates program effectiveness and identifies opportunities to improve results. He develops CQI plans and oversees the implementation process to ensure program goals are met. Yerson received his bachelor’s degree in System Engineering from Corporacion Universitaria del Meta in Colombia in 2008, along with a Specialization in Formulation and Evaluation of Projects from the same university. He received his master’s degree in Education and Learning Virtual Environments from Universidad Cuauhtemoc de Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 2020. Yerson enjoys travel, animals, and spending time in nature and with his family.
To contact Yerson, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irvin oversees and coordinates services within the HERO Dads Program (SHR’s partner program for non-custodial parents), including ensuring enrollment and retention, collaborating with quality assurance staff, and supervising ongoing case management. In his previous role, Irvin provided research and outreach coordination for both the HERO Dads Program and the Supporting Healthy Relationships Program (HERO Dads’ partner program for parenting couples). Irvin received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from New York University. He is committed to improving health equity for community members and families in greatest need, with a particular interest in preventive work that centers in healthy masculinity. Irvin was born and raised in the Bronx, and he is an avid sports fan.
To contact Irvin, please email email@example.com.
Denyse Woods, Psy.D.
Denyse is a practicing psychologist specializing in serious mental illness, forensic psychology, parenting, and evaluations. She has a B.A. in Psychology from New Jersey City University. She received her M.A. and Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology from Saint Elizabeth University, where she serves as an adjunct professor. Denyse helps fathers achieve family success and stability in her roles as workshop facilitator and parent/relationship coach at Supporting Healthy Relationships and HERO Dads (SHR’s partner program for non-custodial parents). With a passion for social justice, Denyse seeks to serve and empower marginalized communities as she supports their emotional and behavioral functioning. She enjoys traveling, swimming, playing games, watching movies, and reading. Denyse and her husband live in New Jersey with their son and dog.
To contact Dr. Woods, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christian Larios, M.S.Ed., C.R.C.
Christian received his bachelor's degree in Spanish and Fine Arts from The College of Mount Saint Vincent in 2009 and graduated from Hunter College-CUNY, with a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Christian has been working at Supporting Healthy Relationships since 2014, where he has held multiple positions, including recruiter and employment specialist. Christian has advanced training in Gottman Method Couple Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), and is a Certified PREP 8.0 Instructor and Certified 24/7 Dad Facilitator. As a bilingual clinician, Christian also facilitates Spanish workshops. He believes in the program’s mission: to provide a supportive safe community for empowering families with the skills and resources to develop strongly committed families and stable relationships. Christian lives with his wife, son, 3 cats, and 2 dogs in Yonkers, NY.
To contact Christian, please email email@example.com.
Mary Minges, Ph.D.
Training Coordinator & Parent Coach
Mary is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in group and couples therapy (Emotionally Focused and Gottman Method Couples Therapy) as well as parenting and relationship education (PREP, 8.0, 24/7 Dad). She completed her graduate training at Adelphi University, Derner School of Psychology, with a focus in psychotherapy process and outcome research, which she continued during her postdoctoral fellowship at The Brief Psychotherapy Research Program at Mount Sinai, Beth Israel. Dr. Minges is passionate about her clinical work, taking a strengths-based stance, and helping clients to understand the purpose of their life strategies and how they can be problematic. Through this lens, clients are challenged to develop a deeper sense of self, in order to more authentically connect with their personal, family, and work life. She works with couples and families with a history of loss, trauma, or mental health issues, and emphasizes helping each individual within the family system to accomplish their personal and professional goals. Mary is a committed meditator who lives with her husband in New York, NY.
To contact Dr. Minges, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisbeth Parra, LMHC
Lisbeth is a bilingual mental health counselor who provides compassionate, comprehensive, and genuine services to both English- and Spanish-speaking families. She has received extensive training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, has received certification in Gottman training levels 1 and 2, and Prevention and Relationship Education Program (PREP) 8.0, as well as the National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad curriculum. Lisbeth received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and Human Relations from Pace University in 2017, as well as her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2019. Lisbeth completed her Mental Health Counseling internship at Supporting Healthy Relationships during her final training year and was subsequently hired as a full-time staff member. Lisbeth enjoys reading novels and writing poems, as well as spending time with her family and dog, Layla.
To contact Lisbeth, please email email@example.com.
Erika graduated from Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania and attended Lehman College in Bronx, NY, in their Early Childhood Developmental Program. She has been working with children and families for over 20 years. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children, family, and friends.
To contact Erika, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data Analyst & Software Developer
Jay is a Software Engineer by profession, currently living in New Jersey. In his role, Jay uses his programming and analytical skills to manage large health care databases. He utilizes Python codes and SQL scripts to engineer and generate quality PHI (Protected Health Information), data reports, and program analyses. Aside from being an avid coder, Jay is also a passionate audio engineer. Ever since starting this hobby at the age of 10, he has engineered over 1000 shows for leading music and commercial industries. Jay is known to liven up our social events and staff parties with his audio systems and music, which we love! He keeps abreast of current technology and data manipulation by continuously broadening his knowledge in the fields of music engineering, software and data engineering, and analytical thinking. Jay received his B.S. in Computer Science from Mumbai, India, and his M.S. in Computer Science from Pace University, New York.
To contact Jay, please email email@example.com.
Jessy began her healthcare career at Montefiore Medical Group in 2007, and later worked as a Project Associate for Montefiore’s CMO Department. She joined HERO Dads in 2021 and provides CQI analytical and data support. She received her bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Mercy College and is currently working on her master’s in Business Administration from Western Governors University. She lives in Connecticut with her 2 children.
To contact Jessy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supervisor of Community Engagement
Cynthia received her B.B.A. in Finance and Economics with a Minor in Latin American Studies from Pace University. She has been working in the Social Services field for over 10 years, serving adults, children and families. She develops and maintains partnerships with community organizations and assists and supports couples and non-custodial parents get oriented from beginning to end, including pre-screening, onboarding, and educating clients about the HERO Dads Program and Supporting Healthy Relationships Program (HERO Dads’ partner program for parenting couples). She helps coordinate the Friends of Supporting Healthy Relationships & HERO Dads (FOSHR) partnership communications and quarterly meetings. Cynthia loves music and dancing.
To contact Cynthia, please email email@example.com.
Clinical Intake Coordinator & Family Support Specialist
Born and raised in New York, Abraham holds a B.A. in Communications from SUNY at Buffalo. Taking the quote “You don’t grow in Isolation, you grow in Community” to heart, Abraham’s focuses on orienting fathers into HERO Dads and connecting them to community resources to ensure that their families are fully supported. When he isn’t working, Abraham enjoys spending time with friends & family, and is a die-hard New York Yankees fan. He continues to serve his community beyond work as a member of the National Urban League of Young Professionals, a nationwide, community service and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting the community through volunteerism, philanthropy, activism, and leadership development.
To contact Abraham, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Engagement & Family Support Specialist
Nola Ramos-Hilman earned her bachelor of arts degree from Lehman College where she majored in Sociology and minored in African American Studies. Nola shares a commitment to building stronger communities through service for marginalized individuals. Her professional experience ranges from working with people with intellectual and development disabilities, men who struggled with homelessness, women rejoining the workforce, and children with emotional needs. Nola credits her mom for her eagerness to help others. She also takes great pride in identifying as an Afro-Latina from the Bronx. When she isn’t helping people, Nola enjoys spending time with her two daughters, her husband, and their shih-tzu.
To contact Nola, please email email@example.com.
Community Engagement Specialist
As a Community Engagement Specialist for HERO Dads, Nicole develops relationships with community organizations to connect more families to HERO Dads services. As a Family Support Specialist for Supporting Healthy Relationships (HERO Dads’ partner program for parenting couples), she emphasizes the importance of overcoming potential barriers to employment and other case management issues that are potential stressors for couples. Nicole provides tailored support to couples seeking to improve financial literacy and/or are in need of career counseling. Nicole holds a B.A. in Psychology and is pursuing a master’s degree at Stony Brook University. Nicole is extremely family oriented and resides in the Bronx.
To contact Nicole, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Engagement Specialist
Faith is a 17-year experienced job developer who networks with major corporations, community leaders, and church groups to identify the needs of participants in all sectors by tabling at events and giving presentations to connect eligible participants to the HERO Dads Program and Supporting Healthy Relationships (HERO Dads’ partner program for parenting couples). As a Family Support Specialist for SHR, Faith creates job opportunities not just for temporary employment, but to help participants strive in a long-term career of their desire. She consults with participants about financial plans in order to empower their family to become financially stable. With Faith’s long and extended education in finance, she has a deep passion to help everyone become financially independent. Besides spending time with her family, she takes great pride in loving and spoiling her only grandson.
To contact Faith, please email email@example.com.
Keith attended Westchester Community College and has been employed with Montefiore for 3 years. He has enjoyed the experience of helping others in any capacity and making clients feel welcome when arriving to attend programs. When he isn’t working, Keith enjoys spending time with his family and friends, cheering on his favorite basketball team, The Knicks, and is very much into music.
To contact Keith, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yessica has been with Montefiore for 10 years. She attended Monroe College where she obtained her Associates degree in Information Technology. As a program assistant she operates all office equipment, including photocopier and fax machines, answers telephone calls and routes them to the appropriate staff member, and perform other clerical duties as needed. She enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends, loves animals and helping other when in need.
To contact Yessica, please email email@example.com.
SHR in the News!
Self-Reflection for Healthier Relationships
The dirty dishes in the sink. We’ve all seen couples arguing over this minor issue in sitcoms and in real life. But how does a tiff about dirty plates transform into a big argument, seemingly out of nowhere?
Self-reflection is critical for sorting through these tense moments, leading to improved self-awareness, self-compassion and emotional regulation.
Finding Space for Love to Grow
SHR Date Nights in Bronx Voice
Community Health Magazine
Women’s Health – Fall Date Ideas
What is Supporting Healthy Relationships (SHR)?
SHR is a FREE, federally funded program that offers couples in a committed relationship a combination of relationship/parenting workshops, financial empowerment, and family support services.
What are some of the topics discussed during the workshops?
SHR’s relationship and parenting curriculum is based on 30+ years of research by relationship experts. Some of the topics discussed during the workshops are healthy communication skills (speaking, listening, initiating difficult topics), parenting skills, sore spots/hidden issues, managing stress and other emotions, and relationship repair.
How long are the relationship workshops?
The relationships/parenting workshops are usually 2.5-hours, once a week in the evenings (6pm-8:30pm), for 12 consecutive weeks. 1st week orientation, 10 weeks of CORE workshops, 12th week graduation. We also offer weekend intensive versions of the workshop over 3 consecutive Saturdays, 9am-5pm.SHR encourages workshops in group settings with other couples as it makes the experience more relatable. Couples are offered least 1 private booster session to discuss issues they may prefer not to speak about in the workshop, and/or practice the skills they have been learning privately.
Who are the facilitators of the workshops? Where do workshops take place?
Workshops are facilitated by 2 relationship educators (licensed mental health counselors and/or psychologists). SHR is now providing its services both virtually AND in-person. Couples are randomly assigned to either a virtual workshop series or an in-person workshop series.
What does the enrollment process look like?
- Speak with a SHR Recruiter to confirm eligibility
- Schedule In-person Clinical and Financial Intakes
- Complete Clinical and Financial Intakes (approximately 1.5 hours)
- Complete Pre-Workshop Surveys (approximately 30-45 minutes)
Are couples permitted to bring their children to In-person workshops?
No. SHR doesn’t provide childcare services. Incentives provided by SHR (up to $450, distributed in electronic gift cards) can be utilized to support payment of independent childcare services.
Does SHR provide meals during workshops?
Yes. SHR provides meals for couples participating in in-person workshops. For workshops taking place on weeknights, dinner will be provided. In the event the workshops take place on a weekend, both breakfast and lunch are served.
Does SHR assist with transportation to and from the workshops?
Yes. SHR provides a round-trip metrocard for each person attending in-person workshops every week for 12 weeks.
Do both partners need to attend the workshop or can just one of use attend?
Both partners are expected to attend all workshops while participating in SHR. If one partner misses a workshop, but the other attends, both partners still need to make up the workshop to receive their full incentives.
Do you provide workshops and services in different languages?
Yes. SHR workshops are facilitated in both English and Spanish. SHR strives to provide at least 1 English, 1 Spanish workshop starting every month.
What if I don’t feel comfortable talking in a group? Can I learn the material individually?
SHR encourages couples to be receptive to participate in our program in a group setting. SHR understands that couples may feel uncomfortable discussing some intimate concerns in the group; therefore, couples are provided with at least one private booster session with a relationship coach while participating in the program. Unfortunately, couples are not able to receive the material individually.