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>A Christmas Message – Family Voices of North Dakota.

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Greetings everyone as we enter thisChristmas season. Isn’t life glorious?

I decided to dosomething a little different this season for my Christmas post. Inactuality, I don’t recall doing anything last year, so let’s call ita new tradition for A Father of Many.

You see, about 2 and ahalf years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in this seminarcalled “Parent Leadership Institute”. This seminar brought 23participants to the small but wonderful town of Edgeley, NorthDakota. The organization is called Family Voices of North Dakota. Inwhat has become an annual event, leaders from across the countrypresent leadership topics and training sessions on a wide variety oftopics. Topics such as giving testimony to leaders and policymakers, sharing your story, learning what you know, and how to findwhat you don’t know, as well as many other topics. The staff fromFamily Voices help mold the next generation of parent leaders throughexample and by showing a selfless sense of service to others. Ifthey aren’t a model, or Servant Leadership, then maybe the modelneeds to be redesigned.

Why is this significant?
Through the Parent LeadershipInstitute, the organization works to train parent leaders as stewardsto help other parents in similar situations with their children. Situations can be a bad word depending on your perspective, but inthis instance, it is a good word. Many families across the state ofNorth Dakota are experiencing what can only be called extraordinaryhealth issues, especially in regards to children.
The organization helps families byproviding guidance on where to go for help. Who to call for help. Through a largely volunteer organization, staffed by regional parttime hard working parents, and one executive director who issomething of a spark plug, this organization provides support on anas needed basis. While working with diverse populations, includingthose who live on the Native American Reservations in our state, theywork with federal, state and local agencies to get the families thesupport they need. And they do it on a shoe string budget.
Couple all of this energy with avolunteer board of directors, and you have an organization that putsthe heart in the Family Voices of North Dakota logo. In our statenearly every city is located on a crossroad. It is fitting that theorganization would take as their motto, “Navigating Crossroads toHope”. In part because of the hard work of the staff, volunteersand their director, they provide hope to families from all walks oflife.

Please join me in saying Thank You to Donene and thestaff at Family Voices of North Dakota. One day, your family mayneed the hope that they can help you find. Sometimes all it takes tomake a difference are comforting voices of friendly people.

If you are of a mind, and would likemore information about the good work that this organization does,please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to answeryour questions. To be honest, it would be me giving back to thecommunity for all that the Family Voices of North Dakota staff havedone for me and my family.

On the same hand, if you have achild with Autism or a TBI that has been recently diagnosed, let meknow, I have some experience being a parent of a child with Autismand another child with a TBI. I can offer some advice and guidanceon where to get started on your quest for information.

Remember,your child’s special health care needs don’t have to be just physicalor mental, they can be any combination of the two, or one of the two. All that is required of you is a phone call, and a few minutes ofyour time. Please, take a few minutes and make that call today. They can help you. Even if it is only because someone listened to youand your concerns for your child. Donene and a client did get theopportunity recently to participate in some events at the nationallevel in Washington D.C. You can find more information about thesegentle people on their website. http://www.fvnd.org

Now, I also have a motive to writing this entry. Ourfriends at Swanson Vitamins are giving a thousand dollars to theorganization of my choice if I am lucky enough to win. You can findinformation about this contest on their site. Just click on thebadge.

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