I guess it’s only natural to focus on the challenges of each stage of life; but how much more rewarding it is when we seek out the opportunities presented, especially when they involve enriching the life of another. Though I am considered a “senior citizen,” I plan to always be open to serving others through volunteering.
August 21st marks 30 years since the Family Care Network opened its doors to begin serving our community’s children, youth and families impacted by trauma. We’ve been celebrating this milestone all year by walking you through our 30 year journey, spotlighting important people, partnerships and moments which have made the last 30 years not only possible but exceptional.
Ann Ward is certainly someone who has made the last 30 years possible. She and her husband were two of our first foster parents. They’ve been with FCNI from day one, and have served hundreds of children and families in profound ways over the years. Ann has also become an invaluable trainer and foster parent support person, helping others to serve and succeed.
The following was written by Ann in honor of the last 30 years--and reflects her tremendous heart for our mission and our community!
The following is a transcript of the speech given by one of FCNI’s most resilient and remarkable staff, Amber Davis. As you will read, Amber’s story is moving and captivating--her heart to soar above circumstances completely out of her control is nothing short of miraculous. Amber shared her story with our Benefit for Kids’ guests this past August 6th, moving the crowd to tears of heartbreak and joy. We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Amber, and that her words will inspire you unexpected ways.
This month I had the immense privilege of being invited to be the Social Media Ambassador for the Family Focused Treatment Association’s (FFTA) annual conference. I anticipated that the event would be inspiring on many levels, digging into policy, advocacy, foster care, trauma-informed care, working with LGBTQ youth (and the list of relevant workshop topics goes on). While these workshops were fresh, relevant and well-presented, what really made the whole event special was all of the people I met.
Thirty Years, what an amazing, blessed journey it has been--watching the Family Care Network emerge from a dream to become a significant, important player in the lives of so many children, youth and families. Ours is a story of incredible people, risk taking, passion, heart, tenacity, innovation, partnership, creativity, planning and, above all, serving!
Unless you are living in some altered reality, it is unquestionably clear – we are living in Uncertain Times. Politically, financially, geopolitically, environmentally, internationally, culturally, socially, “the times they are a chang’n.” Unfortunately, these changes aren’t necessarily for the better. Except for annoying political nonsense, the last eight years have been pretty stable. But now... it feels like our normative order is being turned on its head. Angst and fear have blanketed the hearts of far too many as uncertainty burgeons like an explosion of wildflowers after a rainy season.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.
The quote above, by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has always been one of my favorites. I love Dr. King’s words because, at least in my own attempts to explain why I feel it necessary to perform service for others, I seemingly fail to capture the original impulse which has led me to service in the first place. There’s always something missing from my explanation; something just beneath the surface which I can’t quite put into words. This inarticulation presents a strange paradox that I suppose many people other than myself find themselves in, particularly those who enter public service fields. With that said, I’ve found myself reflecting on this quote a lot over the last year. You see, I’ve been working as an AmeriCorps member here at the Family Care Network since September 2016. AmeriCorps is a federal program with the express goal of engaging adults in public service work with aims of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community." The simplest way to think of AmeriCorps is as the U.S. domestic version of the more well-known Peace Corps program.
Your Attitude determines the state of the world you live in; it is the foundation for every success and every failure you have had and will have. Your Attitude will make you or break you.
ATTITUDE is the primary determinant of how you are perceived and how others react to you. Have a positive, joyful attitude, and you’ll have positive, joyful results. Put out a bad, negative attitude, and you’ve failed before you even begin.
My wife and I have been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren--seven lives we absolutely cherish. Like most conscientious grandparents, and parents for that matter, observing the times we live in can be very disconcerting and troublesome. What will their future hold? What are the negative influences permeating their innocence? Who will they model after? These are just some of the thoughts that haunt us.
Everyone has their 'go-to' comfort foods, and often times these foods aren’t the most nutritious. I’ve learned the healing value of allowing kids to enjoy these foods once in a while even if they make me cringe.
March is the month when many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by preparing and/or eating the traditional corned beef and cabbage and potatoes. This meal has been a tradition in my family since before I was even born. My Mom’s side of the family is Irish, so there was never any question as to what was for dinner every March 17th.