EVART — Learning about yourself and others in your community, can make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Higher Ground Learning Center, a family-focused program designed to offer encouragement, support, knowledge and networking opportunities through a variety of classes, returns later this month for its 10th session in Evart.

The new session begins with registration on Thursday, March 16, at the Evart Free Methodist Church, located at 6151 95th Ave. The program will run for eight weeks, skipping March 30 for spring break, and concludes on May 11.

Each week, participants of all ages can select one of the several classes offered, said Deb Booher, Higher Ground director for Love INC (In the Name of Christ).

"There's a parenting class and a healthy lifestyle class that is centered on physical exercise rather than only food," she said. "We also will have one for conflict resolution and building a community, which sounds like a lovely class.

"There's a class about love and respect, which is geared for relationships and marriages and families. We've had that class before, and it's an excellent class."

Classes for children 4 to 11, teenagers and adults may include stress reduction, life skills for such things as home repairs and financial fitness, Booher said.

"Our classes have resulted in nearly every person indicating they have new, positive relationships with people they didn't know before the class," she said.

Every Thursday begins with registration from 5 to 5:45 p.m., followed by a volunteer-prepared dinner from 5:30 to 6:10 p.m. Classes start at 6:15 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m. When class concludes, participants earning points in class can "spend" them at the makeshift store set up. Shopping will conclude at 8 p.m.

Booher said there are no screenings or requirements to participate in the session.

"There's no set eligibility for people to come," Booher said. "People attend because they have made that decision. We're not there to fix anything in particular, we're helping them do life, assisting them on life's journey with life skills and kids getting something positive.

"It's for the whole family, as it's a fun night out and they get to do something fun together and look forward to his each week. It's a very positive night."

Booher said there are many groups and organization who continue to volunteer to teach classes at the session.

"It's a nice environment and a nice place to present their message," she said. "Some agencies want to teach every session, as it is something they are required to do. In other environments, they have some difficulty getting people to attend, but at Higher Ground, they have nearly perfect attendance. They have found a good place to meet that requirement and for families, it meets the their needs."

Booher said a recent talk with a prospective intern made her realize how unique the Higher Ground sessions can be for everyone involved.

"The intern was very excited people come to this because they want to," Booher said. "Nobody is ordered to come to this, because that's not how you build good relationships. Everybody who wants to be there is there.

"The volunteers want to be there and have chosen to be. The families are there because they have made the decision to come. That starts you off on a really positive energy. That got (the intern) really excited."

Fall sessions also are being planned as well, Booher said.

If Evart Public Schools are closed, Higher Ground also will be closed.

For more information about Higher Ground or Love INC, call (231) 779-1888.