When I was in college I went through a whole series of different majors before finding the right fit. After all those missteps, I found my home in the Human Services field. My first internship was for an agency whose mission was Child Abuse Prevention. That first internship and subsequently, my first job in my field, was a real eye opener. I had genuinely lived a fairly sheltered life, and it was heartbreaking to see the results of abuse shattering the perfect innocence of a child. Even more so knowing there were children resting on that imperfect bubble - where you know their life is being touched in some way by abuse or neglect, but not enough to substantiate and bring in the help their family needed. Too many children fall through the cracks. April is the month designated to raise awareness and provide people with tools to help in the fight to prevent child abuse. In March I started my coverage on raising awareness with an article about preventing child sexual abuse. This topic in particular is one I feel like we, as parents, need to start talking and keeping talking about with our children. The statistics I uncovered while doing the research were terrifying. It might not be a comfortable conversation to have with our children, but it's one we have to have. To kick off the month I wrote a piece about how we can all be a part of the solution. There are things we can do that might seem small, but if it has the potential to make a difference in the life of a child...Why wouldn't we do it? Additionally, I'll also link you to a piece I did in 2010 that will provide you with suggestions about volunteering or donating to specific organizations. I have a few other things planned for the month including a guide to any activities going on locally for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Ironically, when we were at the library last week, the book I checked out was about the impact child sexual abuse has on one family. I really hadn't looked at what the book was about; I grabbed it because it's an author I really enjoy and hadn't read the book yet. So look for a review to come on that book some time this month. If you want to show your support for this cause, consider donning a blue ribbon, as that's the symbol for Child Abuse Prevention.
I realized the other day that I had never done a follow up post regarding my team's Relay for Life website, which you probably won't recall, but I had said I would let you know when it was up and running.
Behind the scenes of Noah and the Arks
While I hate to play favorites, I think of all the websites I've done so far, this is my favorite. It turned out well, if I do say so myself. It makes an impact. Let me tell you a little about this labor of love. Without a doubt, it was emotionally challenging to pull this site together, particularly after Ginny died. Even now, as I type this, tears are overwhelming me. Upon arriving to the site you'll land on a poem that my sister-in-law Kara wrote this past year as it became apparent that at least in Ginny's fight, cancer was winning. With that and her brother's own ongoing battle with cancer this poem had been building word by word, piece by piece in her mind and needing her testimonial for the website inspired her to take it from heart to paper.
Other things that you'll find while perusing the site are three stories. These stories can be found under the "Our reason for relaying" tab. Noah, our team's namesake, did an incredible job sharing his story - from learning of his diagnosis through treatment and what Relay for Life means to him. I can tell you, he completely wowed me the first time I read it. Paul is my dad and he was diagnosed with kidney cancer when I was five-years-old. He sat down with me and we wrote his tale of life with cancer. My dad was so incredibly lucky. I feel like I should note that while his kidney cancer is under control he has been diagnosed with skin cancer and has various procedures done about twice a year. For some reason we didn't broach that side of things on the site. And then there's Ginny's story. This year's Relay for Life will be on Ginny's birthday...Bittersweet. The story you'll find under her name is the one I wrote for Examiner.
Next on the site you'll find a growing page of ourteam's testimonials - why we relay. Each time another member of the team sends me their piece, I am wowed at the different approaches we all take in explaining why Relay for Life is so important to us. Five of our team members have contributed testimonials so far.
Our next tab takes you to money page - or how can you help? Here we have it set up for you to order luminaries for Relay (we're hoping to get a PayPal type thing going there soon), along with a list of our upcoming fundraisers. I feel I need to point out a hidden link on this page because it's incredible. On this page, you will find a link to one of our raffle items, which is a photo session with one of our team members. This link will take you to examples of her work and an accompanying song that for me is so powerful because it reminds me of Ginny. In fact, we used it in the video we made for her family.
I hope you'll check out our team's website and pass the link along. Be sure to sign the guest book! Oh, also on several of the pages throughout the website, you'll see ourHonor/Memory Roll, which lists the people we know with cancer and those who are no longer with us. In guest book land you can leave a message for us to add names to our list.
Noah and the Arks - Relay for Lifewww.noahrelayforlife.weebly.com *(Originally written/posted on November 6, 2010)
My most recent Examiner article finally fulfills the promise to cover some of the many areas/issues awareness is being raised for this month. One down, two to go, nothing like waiting until the end of the month. However, if you know me at all, you know I am a horrible, horrible procrastinator. There should be consequences for a procrastinator like me, but it seems I do my best work when it gets down to go time. For instance, I think it was my last year of college, we had an entire semester to get the paper done for one of my core classes and I had been "working" on an idea s l o w l y putting the pieces together throughout the semester, when the day before it was due I decided I wanted to shift the focus of the thesis entirely. I'm pretty sure I stayed up all night, got the research done, wrote the paper, and e-mailed it at the last possible second. 100%. See what I mean? That's just not motivation to getting things going earlier.
Talk about diving off topic, though! The latest Examiner piece I have to offer you talks about dyslexia. It gives you a brief overview of what dyslexia means and some of the signs you can look for in your child, but it also connects you to some resources. One website I've found over the course of researching various topics is my new personal go to site for nearly everything. This site is phenomenal - and here's why: This site gives you information if you're a parent researching, it provides information for kids and teens in ways that relate to them. It's completely helpful. The kid sections don't sound as though they're talking down, rather they put it into terms a kid can understand. But to get linked up to this website, you'll have to head over to the article. I know, I'm mean, right? But you'll survive, so let's stop dilly-dallying and get you the link:
Reading it right: Dyslexia Awareness Month
Not only is October a month for raising awareness for Down syndrome, but for many others as well. A recent Examiner article of mine explores all the various issues awareness is being raised for during the month of October.
When I got the list I noticed there were some topics I had recently covered. This particular article is my "hub article" so to speak, which provides brief information (in some cases) about that particular subject, links to articles already completed on the topic, or the promise for articles to come. I'm blown away at all the pertinent issues being addressed this autumn month.
To take a peek at all that's happening this month, you'll, of course, be directed over to my Examiner page for all that informative goodness. Be sure to keep checking back throughout the month, or hey, subscribe to my Examiner articles so you can be sure you won't miss a thing.
Learn more about what's happening this month: October is a month of bringing awareness
*(Originally written/posted on October 6, 2010)
Did you know that October is National Down syndrome Awareness Month? (I'm thinking the title should have provided a clue, but...) Perhaps you remember the Kibbes? A Spokane family whose youngest child has Down syndrome. I did a series of articles on their family back in July.
Mary has a blog of her own, which she started writing in 2008 in order to participate in the "31 for 21" challenge. So with the first day of October nearly over as I write this, she has posted 1 of 31 for 21 today.
I love this and look forward to reading her posts each day. For my part, I told her I'd comment every day on her posts. What can you do to
raise awareness? Take to your Twitter accounts, Facebook, blog, whatever and spread the word. Even today there are many misconceptions about individuals with Down syndrome. In the course of the research I did for their story I found this quote:
“The most important fact to know about individuals with Down syndrome is that they are more like others than they are different.”
--National Association for Down syndrome
I dare you to learn more about Riley and even for a moment question the wisdom of that quote. To me, it says it all.
Haven't had a chance to Meet the Kibbes? Simply mosey down the page just a bit for the links to their articles. Also, check out Mary's blog. Perhaps she'll leave us a comment sharing some of her favorite blogs who are also participating in the 31 for 21 challenge.
Part 1: Meet the Kibbes
Part 2: Learning about Down syndrome
Part 3: Resources for children with Down syndrome
Part 4: Just a boy and his big brother Rex
Part 5: Looking forward
Mary's Blog: Hurricane Riley & his Big Brother Rex
The Angel of GriefPhoto by: tkksummers via Flickr
The article I posted to my Examiner page today took a lot of work - mostly of the emotional variety. I've been working/wanting to pull this piece together for several weeks and I kept putting off the actual writing of it simply because I just couldn't handle it emotionally.
It's only been posted for about two hours now and the responses I've gotten have been amazing. It's as if I was meant to write this article now. What's it about you might be wondering? Helping loved ones cope with miscarriages. This topic is tough. No one wants to talk about it and it's constantly swept aside as something not to be dealt with by those of us on the outside looking in. It's not out of malice or lack of caring, rather it's not knowing what to do or say. For some tips on how to conquer those worries, please check out my article.
As I mentioned above, it feels as though this was meant to be and here's why. Just in the span of me getting my source's thoughts as she wanted them shared and pulleing everything together to post it, she gets a phone call from her sister-in-law asking the very questions this article answers. Immediately after posting I received an e-mail stating how this was just what she needed. It's reaching people in just the way I hoped it would.
Thanks for stopping in. Let me know what you think.
The second piece to this article was posted today:http://www.examiner.com/early-childhood-parenting-in-billings/finding-support-following-the-loss-of-your-baby