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Heart of Dating Community

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Today on the Heart of Dating, we are doing a special episode on something that is near and dear to our hearts! On today’s episode, we are talking ALL about community… so we figured...what’s a better way to do it than to have ACTUAL members of our very own community on?! So welcome Anthony, Courtney, Liam, Jecca, Eric, Claudia, and Jen to the podcast as they dive into what it means to be a part of the Heart of Dating Community and they share about how it’s shaped their singleness lives!


Meet the Crew!

  • Anthony has been part of the Heart of Dating community for two years and loves the Compatibility Series we did. If it were up to him, his ideal first date would be a coffee (and ice cream) date!


  • Courtney joined the community in the summer of 2020 and loves the episode we did with David Bennett during our LGBTQ series. A roadshow is an ideal first date for her! 


  • Liam is an OG member who has been in our community for 2.5 years now. He comes all the way from down under in Australia and for his favorite episode he threw it all the way to our very first episode titled “Dating Essentials”. Liam has nothing specific in mind for an ideal first date but is seriously looking for genuine connection. 


  • Jecca is another OG member who has been a part of the community for over 2 and a half years! Just like our girl Courtney, Jecca loves the Heart of Dating LGBTQ series. We asked her what her ideal first date would be… and she couldn’t decide! She’s down for anything.


  • Eric has been with the community for almost two years now. It’s impossible for our guy Eric to choose a favorite episode cause he loves all of them. (YAAAYY!!) Eric also couldn’t choose what would be his ideal first date… He says he’d just be happy doing whatever would make his date happy!


  • Jen joined the Heart of Dating community in the spring of 2020. She too loves the LGBTQ+ series we did on HOD as well as an episode we did with Bianca Olthoff on “how to have your dating life NOT suck”. Jen says that her first ideal first date is something chill like going to the beach or just grabbing a cup of coffee together.


  • Claudia joined the Heart of Dating crew back in April of 2020. Her personal favorite episode is the one HOD did with Dr. Margaret Nagib. Claudia says that she doesn’t care what her first date is… as long as it’s something where she doesn’t have to sit around for a while.

How did you find out about the Heart of Dating?

  • Courtney found out about the Heart of Dating on Instagram. She tells her story how she found out about it through a Heart of Dating Conference 2020 speaker. Courtney actually joined the conference to have some content for her girls and ended up finding so much encouragement through the conference for her own personal dating journey.
  • Jen found out about Drop the Hanky from a friend in the Bahamas. Jen at first was unsure about the program… but now says that joining it and joining our community was one of the best decisions she’s made!

What are your favorite things about the Heart of Dating Community?

  • Eric’s favorite thing about the Heart of Dating community is its very broad spectrum of church representation. The HOD community is excellent at bringing people together and is a representation of what the church really is.
  • Jecca sees the community as a safe place to be challenged. The people in Heart of Dating are kind, compassionate, and loving towards its members.
  • Jecca shares her story on how the community stood by her and supported her through a difficult moment in her life.
“What I love about the community is the way that it brought people from all across the spectrum together.” -Eric

What are your favorite events in the Heart of Dating Community ?

  • Anthony talks a little bit about in-person meet ups within the community. He shares how the community had actually impacted him so much that he even spent this past summer traveling to meet up with HOD friends all over the United States!
  • Eric also shares about how in-person meet-ups have been a great experience for him!
  • 2020 has been a very tough year for everyone but the game nights, karaoke nights, bible studies and even just casual hangouts have helped our community members get through a tough year

Are there any lies you used to believe in before you joined the Heart of Dating community?

  • Jen previously believed that she was too old to date…. However, when she became part of the community, she realized that she was in a place where she CAN be loved for who she is and that she wasn’t alone in her season of singleness. 
  • Liam thought that within dating he would have to have it “all together”. He soon realized that the community is a safe place where he can bring his struggles and baggage to the table. He’s learned it’s less about having it together and more about continuing to grow!

What are some of the biggest things that you find attractive in somebody?

  • Anthony talks about how he loves to see people and what they are passionate about. 
  • Self-awareness is important for Courtney as well as a growth mindset.

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Date for yourself and not for anybody else. At the end of the day you are on your own dating journey. - Claudia
  • Cultivate a clear vision of who you are looking for and who is a good match for you. - Jecca
  • Be honest with other people but more importantly be honest with yourself.- Eric
  • Know who you are and know your core values. - Jen
  • Own who you are. - Liam
  • Just stay on whatever letter you are. - Anthony
  • Throw out the rubik and replace it with God’s voice, be obedient & do what he says. - Courtney
“You are in charge of your own journey.”

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Anthony Bowman & Eric Opperman

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Anthony is an elementary band and orchestra teacher in central Maryland, outside of Washington, DC. He is a percussionist, loves the water, and enjoys salsa and bachata dancing.

Vice president of a truck line in Memphis, Eric is deeply involved in his church and works a variety of jobs in sports on the side. When not at church or a game (or on the HOD FB page), Eric is usually playing with his nephews or planning/daydreaming his next national park vacation.

Jen Daramola & Jecca Mahler

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As a recent transplant to LA, Jen Daramola enjoys exploring beaches and going on random food tours. When she’s not at the beach, Jen enjoys sports, coffee, and music.

Jecca is a life-long New Englander, and drives like a true Bostonian, but actually smiles at people making new friends everywhere she goes and sees everything as an adventure. She's a paramedical foot care specialist, former multi-location salon owner/entrepreneur particularly passionate about developing people and mentoring those most in need of opportunity-advancing life skills, and is always ready to tell the reason for the hope that she has. Right now she's most focused on being a present, deeply-invested disciple-making mom to her own two daughters.


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Liam Briggs & Claudia Barbosa

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Liam is a hotel night supervisor in Brisbane, Australia. He is a guitarist/vocalist (in the car, anyway) and spends his free time having a Netflix binge, expanding his LEGO collection and searching for the best ramen in town.

Claudia, is a Texan who loves to worship, travel, cook, hike, Two step, and spend mornings at the beach. When she can, Claudia loves to lend a helping hand where she is able; helping and encouraging others brings her joy.

Courtney Leo

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Courtney is a Tennessee girl, business owner, dog mom, recovering people pleaser and self-care advocate. Her life mission is to encourage young adults to live their best lives authentically and unapologetically no matter the chapter of life they find themselves in.

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