Funding sought for Family Life Skills of Sweetwater

Sometimes the journey isn't easy, but can be made easier with the right skills. Two local residents, Matthew and Karyn Carbone, are in the process of bringing Family Life Skills to Sweetwater. Life Skills is a gender-specific, 26-30 week course that meets for three hours a week. The classes target issues like anger and abuse, low self-esteem, understanding your emotions, communication in relationships, childhood wounds, rejection, addiction, abandonment, etc. “This is a program that we believe in, it helped save our marriage and family about five years ago and we will forever be grateful. It changes you at the core of who you are, we've seen and experienced the healing it brings and want to share it to others,” Karyn Carbone said. “Every family has issues they are dealing with. Very few of us grew up in 'heathy, normal' homes and this class reteaches, reparents and rewires our minds, it fills in the gaps for the things that may have been left out.”Family Life Skills especially helps those with anger issues and dealing with domestic violence, but it is a program that can benefit anyone who wants to grow personally. "Denial sometimes is a gift, it can keep us alive until we are ready to deal with things, but it's no way to live. I believe there is not one person out there who cannot benefit from taking this class," said Carbone. The program — “Learning to Live, Learning to Love” — was founded in 1985 by Dr. Paul Hegstrom and follows a faith-based curriculum. With any new start-up, there are costs. “We are super excited to share this curriculum with residents in Sweetwater, but we are needing help getting started,” Carbone said FLSS is currently working on completing their 501c3 application to become a non-profit educational organization in Nolan County. Start up costs for the program — which has proven to be 90 to 95 percent successful for those taking it — is set at $8,000. Expenses include licensing fees to become an official affiliate of Life Skills International ( and travel costs for up to four facilitators in Aurora, Colorado to attend a six-day intensive training just after the new year. “The training will ensure the facilitators understand how to lead others through the curriculum and how to handle the business aspect of running the center as well,” Carbone said. Dr. Hegstrom developed the program after dealing with his own family crisis and spending more than $20,000 on counseling. There has been 20,000 hours in research put into the development of the program as well as 36,000 hours with facilitating groups. Carbone and her husband are in the process of raising funds and setting up an advisory board. The immediate goal is to share the program with churches, local agencies and individuals. “We are trying to educate the community about what this program will provide while raising the funds to get it kicked off,” she said. “It is important that we gather the needed funds by mid-December to ensure we are able to send individuals for training in the first quarter of 2013 which is just around the corner. The sooner we can get this program started, the sooner the community will be able to take advantage of the benefits.”For those individuals and businesses wanting to help raise funds, tax-deductible donations can be sent to Family Life Skills of Sweetwater, 1418 Hailey Street. To find out more information email or visit the website at