Video: A Village family program you may not have heard of

The Village’s Family Engagement Programs meet families where they are and work to help them make some very important decisions related to their children. Family Engagement includes Family Group Decision Making and Family Team Decision Making. Learn more about these programs in the video below.

With more than 20 offices in N.D. and Minn., we help individuals and families through a range of counseling, adoption, financial and business services.














How The Village helps children before the damage is done

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO
The Village Family Service Center

Four villagers working along a river bank see children floating by and out of sight. The first villager works frantically to pull out as many as he can. The second villager decides the best approach is to teach the children to swim. The third villager rallies the rest of the village to understand the plight of the children, but the wise fourth villager marches upriver to find out who is throwing them in.

I heard this story many years ago and have always thought it quite profound. I believe it is worth pondering from the standpoint of The Village’s work with kids and families for the past 123 years.

Sometimes we don’t get the opportunity to go upriver to find the “source” of the children floating by. When that happens, we deal with the reality of the situation—knowing that whatever the source may be, appropriate interventions by trained professionals can be the key in helping kids and families chart a new and successful course.

Many (or most) people don’t show up at one of our offices until the situation that gets them there has been going on for some time. The damage is greater, the problem(s) more ingrained and, naturally, the recovery more difficult, than if the issue were addressed early on. Although nearly all of us have heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, not all live by it. It’s probably a simple matter of human nature.

So, we invest a great deal of energy and dollars to “pull kids out of the river.” And we’re really good at it. Our outcome measurements show we are successful in helping people through tough times. Client and referral survey results clearly show The Village has an exemplary reputation, and is very well known for its work in “pulling kids out of the river” and saving them from the dangers downstream.

The other aspect of our work that is equally, if not more, gratifying is when we send people up river. Big Brothers Big Sisters is one example of this work. After four decades of commitment to these kids, we know … (Read the full article on The Village Family Magazine website…)

Village President takes the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Village President/CEO Gary Wolsky was called out for the Ice Bucket Challenge by Village digital marketing guy Shane Mercer. And Wolsky, indeed, took it on. Watch the video here…


5 factors that can alter effectiveness of the medications you take









By Becky Elbert, CNS, The Village Family Service Center

Editor’s note: This article is taken from the First Step Recovery August newsletter. First Step Recovery is a licensed addiction treatment facility in Fargo, N.D., that provides comprehensive, confidential treatment of alcoholism and other drug dependency. For more info, visit

Every day, prescriptions are written for various health problems. Providers spend time with clients talking about the risks, benefits, and side effects of the medications they prescribe. But do providers spend time talking about the importance of medication compliance? Perhaps you are wondering what we mean when we talk about medication compliance. You would be considered med compliant if you took the prescribed medication exactly as it was intended. Medication noncompliance is when you don’t follow the instructions given with the prescription.

I have to admit I don’t spend a great deal of time talking about the importance of medication compliance. I guess I assume most people have all had at least one prescription before and they understand the importance of taking the medication as prescribed. The No. 1 reason for taking the prescription as prescribed is to get the desired effect from the medication. If it is an antidepressant, you should expect that it would treat your depression and thus improve your mood.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and medication compliance is a problem providers encounter every day. Why? Because we are human—we make mistakes and we forget things. Research has shown the medication compliance rate for a person taking one medication a day is only 80%. A person doesn’t plan on missing a dose—it just happens. What if a medication has to be taken two, three, or four times a day? Medication compliance rates drop to 50% when a person has to take a medication four times a day. It has been reported that medication compliance rates for antidepressants is approximately 67%. At that rate, you can’t expect the medication to be effective at treating depression. So the first pitfall to avoid is forgetting to take your medication or not taking it as it was prescribed.

Noncompliance with many psychiatric medications has other ramifications. First and foremost is something called “discontinuation syndrome,” which occurs with many psychiatric medications (i.e. like some SSRI antidepressants) if a dose is missed for even one day, or if a medication is abruptly discontinued. A person who experiences discontinuation syndrome can have side effects such as tingling or prickling of the skin, numbness, or electric-shock-like sensations. To avoid discontinuation syndrome you must remember to take your medications at approximately the same time every day and do not abruptly stop taking your medication without first discussing it with your provider.

Lastly, I cannot stress enough the importance of telling your provider everything. That includes such things as missing doses, changing the time you take the medication, or taking lower or higher doses than the originally prescribed dose. It is also important to inform your provider if you just decided not to fill the prescription and you didn’t start the medication. Whatever the case may be, BE HONEST. Honesty will not get you in trouble, rather it will help the provider determine the next step to take in treating your illness.


  1. Diet. Dietary intake can affect how medications are absorbed, metabolized, and eliminated from the body. For instance, the antipsychotic Ziprasadone should be taken with meals because food doubles the bioavailability of the drug. Your provider should discuss any dietary interactions with you at the time of your appointment. It is important to mention that eating disorders, such as anorexia, have a significant impact on medication efficacy.
  2. Smoking. Cigarette smoke can alter the metabolism of many medications, requiring the individual to need higher doses of a medication to get the same effect.
  3. OTC Medications, Herbs and Supplements. It is imperative that you tell your provider about any other preparations you are using. Just because you don’t need a prescription to take them doesn’t mean that they won’t interfere with your other medications. For example, St. John’s Wort has been said to help some types of depression, but the evidence is not definitive. It is well known that taking St. John’s Wort in conjunction with some antidepressants can cause serious risks, and can also limit the effectiveness of many prescription medications. If you have questions or concerns, your pharmacist can also advise you on these issues.
  4. Alcohol. Alcohol may decrease the effectiveness of medications or render them useless. In other cases, mixing alcohol with some medications can be harmful and even toxic to the body.
  5. Caffeine. Caffeine can cause a variety of interactions with different medications. It is important to tell your provider if you are drinking caffeinated beverages. For example Disulfiram (Antabuse) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine, which might result in increased effects of caffeine and side effects that can include jitteriness, hyperactivity, irritability, and others.

I encourage you to use the above information and guidelines to get the best response to the medication(s) you are prescribed. And remember…medications don’t work in patients who don’t take them.

First Step Recovery is a licensed addiction treatment facility in Fargo, N.D., that provides comprehensive, confidential treatment of alcoholism and other drug dependency. At First Step Recovery, we believe these are treatable illnesses, and we base our recovery program on this guiding principle:

Alcoholism and other drug dependencies are physical, emotional, social, and spiritual disorders. They are characterized by excessive, compulsive, and uncontrolled use of alcohol and other drugs that affect not only the person who is dependent but also family members and significant others.

Where to find the best free educational videos for children online


Vids that educate...As every good teacher knows, a well-chosen video can fasten a concept into a child’s head much faster than a lecture or a textbook. Happily, this is the golden age for mini videos. Charismatic educators have condensed their best lessons into short segments that are as entertaining as they are educational. Since kids are already snacking on videos of cute animals and favorite music groups, parents might as well expand the menu to include something a little more nourishing.

Bite-size videos have several uses: they can keep young minds engaged in the summer, supplement classroom lessons during the school year, be mini-refresher videos for parents attempting to help with homework, or a valuable teaching tool for homeschool families.

YouTube is bursting with educational videos. However, for parents, this creates a “wheat from chaff” problem because the good stuff is mixed in with plenty of other videos that are, at best, time-wasters and, at worst, inappropriate for kids. The following YouTube channels meet the ABC standard—they are Accurate, Boredom Busting, and Child-friendly—and they are fun! If you find a channel your kids really like, consider subscribing so you’ll know when new videos are posted.

CGP Grey has a simple tagline—“complex things explained”—and it delivers on that promise. These short videos feature stick figures that explain everything from the debt limit and daylight savings time to the Electoral College and net neutrality.

Vi Hart is one of the few vlogs hosted by a woman. Victoria calls herself a “recreational mathem… (Read the full article, on The Village Family Magazine site.)

Are you considering adoption? TheVillage, LSSND hosting free adoption info meeting

The Adoption Option, a partnership between The Village Family Service Center and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota is holding a FREE informational meeting about adoption, Thursday, September 4, 6:30 p.m., The Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., Fargo.

This meeting is open to North Dakotans who are considering adopting a child. Caring professionals with knowledge and experience in adoption issues will answer questions and provide education regarding the opportunities, strengths, and risks of adoption.

Find out about all the adoption options including infant, identified, interstate, and relative adoption, plus a special focus on international adoption. Open adoption will be explained and the issues of cost and waiting periods will be addressed. For more information, call (800) 627-8220. For more about The Village, click here.

5 tips to build trust in the workplace

trust jumpBy Dawn Kaiser
The Village Business Institute 

There are two different philosophies on trust. The first philosophy is that you trust people until they break your trust. The second is that you don’t trust people until they earn your trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, so either way, we all must work on building and establishing trust.

That being said, I think it’s disheartening that “82% of people don’t trust their boss to tell the truth.” (Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 2013). Trust appears to be dwindling in the workplace, but it didn’t just erode overnight. Authors Dennis & Michelle Reina of Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace believe that “90-95% of trust breakdown is related to small, everyday betrayals in which people let each other down.”

So if trust took time to break, it’s also going to take time to build. There is no single activity that will build trust overnight. Rather, we establish and create trust with each other over time through consistent actions, behaviors, and values.

Below are some of the most important things you can do to build trust with your co-workers.

  1. Be congruent: Do your words match your actions? If your words and actions are not congruent, people will start to question your credibility, which erodes their trust. Live out your values through your daily actions, behaviors and decisions.
  2. Be reliable: Do you make promises you can’t keep? People place their trust in people they can count on and who will follow through as agreed upon. Or those who will at least be forthright when things don’t go as planned.
  3. Take ownership: Do you own up to the positive or negative consequences of your actions? The honest truth is we all make mistakes at work. To maintain the respect and trust of our coworkers we must own those mistakes. Be willing to communicate the lessons you learn from your mistakes and move forward.
  4. Listen for understanding: Do you take the time to understand the opinion of others? The act of being understood and heard is very important to people. They want to know that you don’t just assume the worst, but rather seek to understand the full story before taking action.
  5. Solicit and share feedback: Do you ask for and provide honest feedback? It can be scary to give or receive honest feedback, but it is necessary to establish trust. Find the courage to communicate your expectations with others and tell them how well they are meeting those expectations. Then don’t forget to ask how well you are meeting their expectations.

Building trust begins with you. What first step are you willing to take to cultivate a culture of trust in your workplace?

End Notes:

About the Blogger
As an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Trainer with The Village Business Institute, Dawn Kaiser lives her passion to energize, encourage and equip individuals to live stronger. She is a motivational speaker, writer, blogger, teacher, leader and positive-thinker extraordinaire. Dawn draws on more than twelve years of experience in the Human Resource/Organizational Development field and has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master of Education. She is also a certified HR Professional.

Dawn specializes in communication, leadership, high performance teams and personal development. Dawn also enjoys unleashing hope in her community and around the world through her speaking, writing and volunteer opportunities.

For more information, or to schedule Dawn to speak to your group or organization, contact The Village Business Institute at


Three teacher positions open at Nokomis Child Care Centers

Nokomis Child Care Centers In Fargo is looking for people who love children to fill three openings.

Toddler Teacher
Nokomis II Child Care Center of The Village Family Service Center has an opening for a full-time toddler teacher position.  A High School diploma is not required, but preferred, along with experience in child care. A desire to see each child reach his/her full potential is mandatory.  Nokomis provides exceptional child care within the Fargo/Moorhead community to children ages 0-8.  Priority enrollment is given to children with developmental delays, behavioral challenges, or financial obstacles.  Send resume’ and cover letter to Andrea Arntson, Nokomis II Child Care Center, 1620 16th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103 or email Background checks completed. EOAAE. No phone calls please. (Learn more about Nokomis here.)

Pre-Toddler Teacher
Nokomis II Child Care Center of The Village Family Service Center has a position available to be a teacher in their Pre Toddler room.  A degree is not required but experience in child care and a desire to see each child reach his/her full potential is mandatory.  Nokomis provides exceptional child care within the Fargo/Moorhead community to children ages 0-8.  Priority enrollment is given to children with developmental delays, behavioral challenges, or financial obstacles.  Send resume’ and cover letter to Andrea Arntson, Nokomis II Child Care Center, 1620 16th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103 or email by August 15th, 2014. Background checks completed. EOAAE. No phone calls please. (Learn more about Nokomis here.)

Lead Pre- School Teacher
Nokomis II Child Care Center of The Village Family Service Center is looking for a remarkable individual to be a lead pre-school teacher in the 4-5 year olds room.   An Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education plus experience in child care is required.  A desire to see each child reach his/her full potential is mandatory.  Nokomis provides exceptional child care within the Fargo/Moorhead community to children ages 0-8.  Priority enrollment is given to children with developmental delays, behavioral challenges, or financial obstacles.  Send resume’ and cover letter to Andrea Arntson, Nokomis II Child Care Center, 1620 16th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103.  Background checks completed. EOAAE. (Learn more about Nokomis here.)

What do I do when my child throws a temper tantrum?

Q: What do I do when my child throws a temper tantrum?
A: Temper tantrums are common and can begin as early as the age of one year. If you’re a parent or a caregiver, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of them. I found this great article that will give you some suggestions for helping your children learn self-control skills that can benefit them through their adolescent years. These skills will help replace temper tantrums in response to certain situations.

Teaching Your Child Self-Control
When kids melt down in the middle of a crowded store, at a holiday dinner with extended family, or at home, it can be extremely frustrating. But parents can help kids learn self-control and teach them how to respond to situations without just acting on impulse. Teaching self-control skills is one of the most important things parents can do for their kids because these are some of the most important skills for success later in life.

Helping Kids Learn Self-Control
By learning self-control, kids can make appropriate decisions and respond to stressful situations in ways that can yield positive outcomes. For example, if you say that you’re not serving ice cream until after dinner, your child may cry, plead, or even scream in the hopes that you will give in. But with self-control, your child can understand that a temper tantrum means you’ll take away the ice cream for good and that it’s wiser to wait patiently. Here are a few suggestions for helping kids learn to control their behavior:


Up to Age 2
Infants and toddlers get frustrated by the large gap between the things they want to do and what they’re able to do. They often respond with temper tantrums. Try to prevent outbursts by distracting your little one with toys or other activities. For kids reaching the 2-year-old mark, try a brief timeout in a designated area— like a kitchen chair or bottom stair—to show the consequences for outbursts and teach that it’s better to take some time alone instead of throwing a tantrum.

Ages 3 to 5
You can continue to use timeouts, but rather than enforcing a specific time limit, end timeouts once your …

Read the full article on The Village website…


© 1995- 2014. The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Reprinted with permission.

A cute, vintage animated ad for The Village – #TBT


We found an old Children’s Village television ad thanks to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. It’s a Bill Snyder production from 1958. Watch it below.

The Children’s Village would eventually become The Village Family Service Center of today. Our roots as an orphanage still inform what we do today in numerous ways, including through The Adoption Option.

If you remember seeing this ad, we’d love for you to email us with information about when and where!