The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities is offering a course on maintaining relationships for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Albany County.

The institute says the Friendships and Dating program is a comprehensive, evidence-based program designed for individuals to learn about healthy relationships and violence prevention. The goal is to increase social networks for participants and decrease incidents of interpersonal violence.

The program lasts about 10 weeks with meetings held twice a week - once in a classroom setting and once at a designated location. In class, students practice skills related to communication, safety, health, and self-esteem, and then apply learned skills during on-site meetings. Meeting locations include campus museums, coffee shops, restaurants, and bowling alleys.

Classes are taught by facilitators that have been specially trained in the Friendships and Dating program curriculum by the University of Alaska-Anchorage Center for Human Development, who created the program. The upcoming class in Laramie will be taught by Tara Misra, Sexual and Reproductive Health Project Coordinator at WIND, and Shelby Garstad, a graduate student in the Division of Social Work at the University of Wyoming.

The institute says the Friendships and Dating program started over 10 years ago and is currently taught in four states and Canadian territories.

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities began to offer Friendships and Dating classes statewide in 2016, collaborating with the Wyoming Department of Health and the Wyoming Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

The program begins Jan. 29 and will meet on Tuesday and Thursday each week from 4-5:30 p.m. and is open to Albany County residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities. There is a limit of 6 to 8 participants.

Those interested are asked to fill out an application, which can be found by clicking this link.

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