By Valerie Baldowski
Members of four Henry County families gathered together recently to participate in a ceremony designed to strengthen their family ties.
The event, which had a wedding theme, was part of a commitment ceremony organized by Henry County Life Management Solutions. It capped off a 12-week program aimed at restoring harmony to troubled families.
The ceremony was held in a courtroom at the old Henry County State Court building, at 40 Atlanta Street in McDonough. The participants included Hali Lawless as the "bride," Dalon Hansen as the "groom," Danette Peppers as the "bridesmaid," and Billy Cox as the "groomsman."
"Right now I'm just so happy I went through this program," said Lawless, 19. "I'm feeling pretty excited."
Lawless said Life Management Solutions' intervention helped improve the lines of communication in her family, and that she hopes to continue that communication after the program.
"I definitely think it has healed my family," she said. "It's still a work in progress."
According to Life Management Solutions Director Sandra Reagan, the agency offers programs to teach families, single parents, grandparents and individuals the importance of time-management skills, the power of influence, and the power of forgiveness.
Lawless' mother, Casey Lawless, said the Life Management Solutions program her family went through helped bring about a change in the family for the better.
"It has given me hope," Casey Lawless said. "It has given me an opportunity to forgive myself for my past mistakes.
"It's given me a lot of help, to learn to deal with daily life, trials and tribulations, the struggles we all face, the ins and outs, the good and the bad, and it's really helped us bring our family closer together," she said.
The ceremony opened Thursday with a welcome by Reagan, and included remarks by Cleo Brand, personnel coordinator for Life Management Solutions.
"This is what [it's] all about, commitment and building families," said Brand. "Families can be brought back together."
During the ceremony, each young participant read their parents a letter of commitment they composed. The parents then read letters of commitment they wrote to their children, then to each other.
Several couples also renewed their wedding vows and lit a unity candle.
"I can't do anything but commend you," Brand told the families. "Thank you for being so brave."
Anna Hansen, Dalon's mother, praised the program for what it did for her and her family.
"In a nutshell, it brought my family back together," she said.
On the net:
Life Management Solutions: www.co.henry.ga.us/LifeManagementSolutions