Joyful Together

Joyful Together

Want to be a part of a Joyful Together® study? Here’s how.

Joyful Together® is a play-based model that builds resiliency and lowers stress. Join our efforts so that, together, we can give the next generation more resiliency and more joy!

  • Do you have children in your household between the ages of 3 months and 10 years old?
  • Do you work with young children in a school, childcare, or social services environment?
  • Are you part of a government agency or university looking to partner on child and family research?

Then help us discover how to best help kids and families through our Joyful Together® research!


Frontiers of Innovation

Joyful Together® ECE recently was named one of the Frontiers of Innovation projects by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Read more about this high honor and exciting opportunity here.

Recent Research Studies

We currently are conducting several studies so that we can dive into the diverse impacts our programs have on children, families, and communities. Read our white paper on the positive outcomes for program participants.

Early Care & Education

Early Care & Education (ECE) is our latest tool, developed with a focus on early childhood teachers, classroom aides, and childcare workers. Whether you are a teacher or a caregiver, our program can help! Read more here.


What is Joyful Together®?

A new model that lowers parental stress, improves parent-child relationships, and increases childhood resiliency.

Joyful Together® is a play-based model that we developed here at the Institute of Family & Community Impact.

We created this tool for caregivers because of the pressing need for it among our families and communities. Nearly half of all children in Ohio have at least one adverse childhood experience, while one in seven have three or more.

Why do we care so much about this? Because we know adverse childhood experiences can lead to toxic stress, impacting brain development and increasing risk of long-term negative health effects.

Despite the concerning numbers, hope is not lost. Because of how it enhances child/caregiver relationships through joyful play, Joyful Together builds childhood resiliency and reduces toxic stress in children. It provides easy-to-do activities, coaching parents and caregivers on playing with their children in order to create stronger bonds and lower stress.

Since we based it on extensive research, we know that children and families are getting the best results possible. We also continue to test our model to keep it at the cutting edge.

But most importantly, we want you to succeed and flourish. So come join the many families who have benefited from Joyful Together!

Just by adding joyful play into everyday activities with their children, parents, caregivers, and families can:

  • Improve Relationships
  • Improve Childhood Resiliency
  • Lower Parental Stress
  • Do Activities Anywhere, Anytime — It’s Easy!

What caregivers say:

[Daylin] woke up in a mood today! He was screaming and acting a fool, and said he wasn’t going to go to school today. He wouldn’t put on his clothes, and I didn’t know how I was going to get out the door to work. Well, I tried your games. I gave him some Eye Hugs, and then we played Apple Pie, and he started laughing and his mood just flipped. I just wanted you to know, and to thank you for that.”

Miriam, Daylin’s foster mom
(Names have been changed to protect privacy)

Get a glimpse into Joyful Together® activities:


Current Joyful Together® Research

Currently, we are conducting studies in numerous locations across Ohio, exploring how Joyful Together® works in a wide variety of settings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all our study visits are being conducted remotely. Find out more here.

We’re investigating not just its efficacy and impact, but how it affects children longitudinally and in early care. Here’s where we’re working, as well as who we’re working with, in the field right now:

Cuyahoga County

Early Care & Education (ECE) study designated as one of the Frontiers of Innovation by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University


Mahoning & Trumbull Counties

In partnership with Alta Behavioral Healthcare

Lorain, Summit, & Medina Counties

With funding from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund


Trainings, Products, & More!

Our Joyful Together Study Is Open Again — This Time Virtually

Our Joyful Together Study Is Open Again — This Time Virtually

Find out how you can help! Sign up for the study! Joyful Together® is back and better than ever. Across...
Read More
#JoyAtHomeWithDad Week Is April 20-24, And You’re Invited

#JoyAtHomeWithDad Week Is April 20-24, And You’re Invited

Dads, find time for joy and play with your kids during #JoyAtHomeWithDad Week from April 20-24. Want to participate in...
Read More
Joyful Together ECE Named ‘Frontier of Innovation’ by Harvard University

Joyful Together ECE Named ‘Frontier of Innovation’ by Harvard University

Our Joyful Together ECE (Early Care & Education) pilot study recently was selected as one of the "Frontiers of Innovation"...
Read More
Watch: IFCI’s Ben Kearney Talks Joyful Together© at Statewide ‘Building Resiliency’ Summit

Watch: IFCI’s Ben Kearney Talks Joyful Together© at Statewide ‘Building Resiliency’ Summit

Dr. Ben Kearney, IFCI senior fellow and OhioGuidestone's Chief Clinical Officer, spoke about Joyful Together© at the Ohio statewide summit...
Read More
Joyful Together Goes to Harvard

Joyful Together Goes to Harvard

The Institute of Family and Community Impact's Joyful Together© team was selected to participate in Harvard University’s Center on the...
Read More

If you’d like to learn more, contact us here, email IFCI@ohioguidestone.org, or call 440.260.8865.

To sign up for our study, click here.

Interested in our research? Email research@ohioguidestone.org or call 440.260.8865.

You also can explore our website for more info about trainings, clinical innovations, and products!

To learn more about OhioGuidestone, please visit the OhioGuidetone website or call 440.234.2006.


The Institute of Family & Community Impact is a initiative of OhioGuidestone, one of Ohio’s largest behavioral health agencies. From research to products to clinical innovations, we provide tools for mental health treatment. For questions or more info, email us at IFCI@ohioguidestone.org.

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