Want to see your pet’s photo in The Village Family Magazine? Here’s how…

Would you like to see your pet in The Village Family Magazine and/or on our website/social media? Just email your pet pics to klynch@thevillagefamily.org or post them on the Magazine Facebook page, and we just might publish them! Feel free to include any info about the pets or people in the picture. Have fun!

benny

From First Step Recovery: Enjoying the summer without drugs or alcohol

sober fun pintOne of the most common complaints from people who are starting treatment or are in early recovery is: “What am I supposed to do for fun? If I’m not drinking or using, I don’t know what else there is to do.”

The goal of having sober fun includes a new learning process that is going to take some time and effort. Each individual is unique and has to discover the events or experiences that provide a natural level of enjoyment that draws them back for a second time. Don’t just stick to what is safe and comfortable—try new things.

Here are some ideas to consider for summer 2015:
• Canoe and Kayak
• Take an art class
• Go to the zoo, with or without kids!
• Create a bucket list
• Join a running club
• Take dancing lessons
• Camp, Hike, Backpack
• Go on long bike rides- check out http://www.fargomonthly.com/community/great-ride-bikes-share/
• Discover a park each weekend
• Get a one day free guest pass for Sanford Wellness Center
• Tour the local museums
• Take a hot air balloon ride in Medora
• Check out Sky Zone/Trampoline Park; 701-478-8484

A few organized sober activities in the area to consider are:

Spiritual Refreshment
Fair Hills Resort on Pelican Lake
May 22-25, 2015
Host: UMRNA activities sub-committee

Lost and Found’s Mulligan Golf Classic
June 26, 2015
218-287-2089

Also check out the following websites for more ideas:
Cleanandsobernotdead.com
Fargoparks.com/events-calendar.html
Umrna.org/events.html

So, whatever your summer pursuits and plans are this year, may you find endless enjoyable activities that support your Recovery! That is part of living life to its fullest! Enjoy.
sober fun

Q&A: “At what age should I allow my child to play alone outside?”

By Jane Greminger
Nokomis Child Care Centers

Editor’s note: Jane Greminger is the director of Nokomis Child Care Centers, which is part of The Village Family Service Center. Nokomis provides a place for all children to thrive and grow, regardless of their needs. The center provides traditional child care for families able to pay for the service, and also fills a need for families with special needs, both financial, emotional, and physical.

Q: My child wants to play outside all the time. How old should he be before I can leave him outside alone for a few minutes?

The answer to this question depends on so many variables, so I don’t think you can determine an over-all age for when a child should be allowed to play outside alone. Consider the following factors as a guideline when you are deciding when it’s safe to let your child play outside alone:

ENVIRONMENT: Is your yard fenced in? In my opinion, if your yard is fenced in, then 5 to 6 years old is an appropriate age to allow your child to play outside alone for a few minutes at a time. If your yard is not fenced in, I suggest waiting until your child is around 8 years old before you allow them to be totally alone outside. No matter the age of your child, check on them regularly. Always keep in mind the possible dangers of leaving your son alone without your supervision. Without a fenced-in yard, you have to be aware of busy streets and cars that are too fast or aren’t safely driving through the neighborhood. Even if you trust your child, it’s not possible to always be aware of the dangers lurking out there…so supervision is key.

VISIBILITY: Can you actually see and hear your son outside from a window or door on the inside of your home? It is safer to make sure your son is within ear shot and/or is visible to you. Also remember to observe the environment outside to check for any dangers before he goes out to play. These dangers can include anything from broken lawn furniture or glass to faulty play equipment or toys, etc.

MATURITY LEVEL: How mature is your son? As parents and caregivers we become familiar with our child’s personality. Be mindful of certain questions such as: Is your son typically responsible? Would he leave your yard and go into a neighbor’s house without telling you? Is your son impulsive? Does he think before he acts? Does your son play in a calm manner or is he real rough? Children need to be individually evaluated to determine their maturity level for playing outside alone. Does your son understand not to talk with strangers or go with them under any circumstance? Does he know not to run into the street? These are all things you need to ask yourself before allowing your son to play outside alone, especially for longer periods of time.

PLAYMATES: Does your child have siblings or friends to play with? When other children are around, they can look out for one another. Children are less vulnerable and safer when they play in a group than when a child plays alone. If something does happen, the other child(ren) can get help and tell an adult the circumstances. Have safety talks with children before you allow them to play alone outside. These talks should include your thoughts about strangers, possible hazards, outside boundaries, and any other outdoor rules you want to establish with them. If your child is old enough, have him memorize your address and phone number in case of an emergency. Have 9-1-1 and other emergency numbers posted in your home at all times.

 

Village offers “Friendship Training” for children in St. Cloud with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Children with FASD or PAE often have a hard time making friends. Children’s Friendship Training works with children and their parents to develop socially acceptable behaviors—enhancing the likelihood the children are accepted by their peers. Children’s Friendship Training focuses on critical child and parent behaviors that lead to social skills deficits. During the 13-week session, parents and children will:

• Learn how to develop a social network (with the parent’s help)
• Exchange information with peers in the group
• Have in-home play dates
• Learn to avoid conflict and negotiate with peers
• Learn how to enter into a group

These skills are taught in small groups—separated into a children’s group and a parent’s group—through modeling, coaching, practice, performance feedback, and parent-assisted homework.

When: Wednesdays, 6–7 p.m, beginning June 3
Where: The Village Family Service Center, 4140 Thielman Lane, Suite 303, St. Cloud, MN
Info: 320-253-5930Childrens Friendship Training

Did You Live in the ND Children’s Home or Children’s Village? We’re planning a reunion!

If you lived in the North Dakota Children’s Home or Children’s Village at any time in your life, please contact The Village Family Service Center at 701-451-5033 or lrieber@thevillagefamily.org. The Village is planning a North Dakota Children’s Home/Children’s Village Reunion on Sept. 8, 2015, and wants to invite all the former residents (and their families) it can find. Let us know who you are, and we’ll send you an invitation.

The Village Family Service Center was founded as the North Dakota Children’s Home Society, a home for orphaned children. In the 1950s, the name was changed to Children’s Village, and in the early 70s, to The Village Family Service Center. Today, The Village reaches out to more than 80,000 people every year, and is constantly adapting services to meet the needs of modern life. These transformations are ongoing and span a multitude of areas. From individual and family counseling to child care, mentoring and adoption to financial counseling and workplace issues, The Village is a place for all individuals and families, regardless of their size, color or creed.

Nokomis Child Care part of 4th Annual United Way Women’s Leadership May Day Baskets of Books effort

Thanks so much United-Way of Cass-Clay for making Nokomis Child Care part of your book delivery today. Thanks to Kristina Hein and Tonya Stende for visiting and reading with the kids. Photos from Nokomis and more info about this United Way May Day event below!

::: Press release from United Way Cass-Clay :::
Fargo, ND — Over 1,000 books will be delivered to 17 local early childcare centers throughout the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area today. Women on the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, as well as United Way President, Sherri Thomsen and Marketing & Brand Management Director, Kristina Hein will be delivering books and reading to children. Join us at our office at 9:15am to see volunteers arrive and gather their books. At 10:00am, volunteers will be reading to children at the YMCA of Cass & Clay Counties (400 1st Ave S, Fargo, ND) who is one of United Way’s Community Partners.

This also celebrates the 12th year that United Way of Cass-Clay has made Imagination Library available to local children. Imagination Library is a program of the Dollywood Foundation funded locally by United Way of Cass-Clay that provides books to preschool children ages 0-5 throughout Cass and Clay Counties. Children enrolled in the Imagination Library program receive a free book each month which is mailed to his or her home. The program is part of the United Way Education initiative that invests in early childhood development and educational programs that ensure children have the positive, enriching experiences needed to succeed in school and in life. The goals of the program are to: increase early literacy opportunities for children, prepare children for success in Kindergarten and encourage parents to take and active and early role in their child’s literacy.

On average in 2014, about 9,100 local children received a book in the mail every month. There are currently 8,865 children registered for the program. This is 51% of all children ages 0-5 throughout Cass and Clay Counties (according to KIDS COUNT Data, 17,342 children ages 0-5 reside in Cass and Clay Counties.) In 2014 there were 105,082 books were sent to the homes of local children and over 33,236 children have been impacted since 2003. It costs about $25 per year to sponsor a child to receive one book per month for an entire year through Imagination Library. For a gift of $150 to United Way of Cass-Clay you can sponsor six children for a full year.

A Big Brothers Big Sisters success story: “You’re probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to me”

 

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in The Village Family Service Center’s annual report. Big Brothers Big Sisters in Fargo-Moorhead is part of The Village.


2014 Annual Report PRINT-24

It was close to Mother’s Day when Ruth Weber and Britany Williams headed out for their first get-together as Big Sister and Little Sister. They decided to drop by the Humane Society garage sale and let 6-year-old Britany choose a gift for her mom.

After passing over a variety of Mother’s Day gift possibilities, something caught Britany’s eye.

“I found this statue. It was of, like, a sewer rat with red glowing eyes, and it was really ugly,” Britany said. “And I was like, ‘I want to get this for my mom!’”

“And it lit up,” Ruth said. “Not only did it have red eyes and it was grey and awful, but it lit up!”

“I thought I’d never hear from you ever again after your mom opened that,” Ruth said to Britany.

Far from it. Ruth would be Britany’s Big Sister for more than a decade. Now 18 years old, Britany has graduated out of Big Brothers Big Sisters, but she and Ruth continue a close relationship.

“I couldn’t imagine my life without Ruth,” Britany said.

The relationship would be eye-opening and life-changing for both of them.

Britany’s home life was very different from the family life that Ruth had known. For one thing, Britany’s father was out of the picture.

“I’ve seen him probably six times throughout my whole life,” Britany said.

She saw drug abuse in her home and often lacked adequate parental supervision. At one point during high school, Britany’s mother served time in prison.

Sometimes Ruth would be shocked by the happenings that Britany would describe to her.
“And so we kind of had to do a rule that she couldn’t tell me things…until we got to where we were going because I just about crashed my car several times,” Ruth said.

Ruth says she wouldn’t have made it as a Big Sister to Britany if not for the BBBS staff.
“I didn’t understand what I was dealing with,” she said.

She didn’t understand why Britany sometimes didn’t have the proper clothing or why she was hungry when she came over to Ruth’s home. She just didn’t understand why things were as they were for Britany. But what Ruth did understand was that Britany needed a stable influence in her tumultuous young life. And Ruth, a finance professional who thrives on organization and consistency, could do that.

“I felt like I could just be that constant,” Ruth said. “You know, I wasn’t rollerblading with her. I wasn’t the one doing all that crazy stuff that college kids did; I was repetitive. From two to four on Saturday I keep showing up, and you’re like, ‘You always keep showing up,’ and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I’m here. I’m here.’”

That time meant a great deal to Britany.

“I just loved being with her,” Britany said. “We could just go on the couch, sit down, and not even talk, and I would just love being in her presence. It was just nice to have an adult who would sit there and listen to me—unconditionally listen to me, like, look me in the eye and have nothing else going on but me.”

There would be lots of those conversations and lots of shared experiences.
Once, BBBS participants were invited to a Boy Scout camp. There were a number of outdoor activities offered, including the opportunity to shoot a .22 rifle. Britany took to it like a natural.

“And there was a bunch of old men; they were like all 85, with .22s,” Ruth said. “And Britany gets up there and she gets her little gun and she hits the target and they’re like, ‘Have you done this before?’”

“You’re only supposed to get five bullets,” Britany said. “I think they gave me like 15. They just kept giving them to me.”

2014 Annual Report PRINT-23That night Britany and Ruth gathered with others around the campfire.

“It was a beautiful night,” said Ruth, a nature lover. “The sun was starting to set…And I look over and there’s a deer and a fawn off in the distance.”

And Ruth said, “‘Britany, look, there’s a deer and a fawn.”

Britany leaned in and said, “‘If I had my .22, I could get ‘em.’”

“And I…thought, ‘What have I done?’” Ruth said.

Through all the fun and silliness, Ruth was impacting her Little Sister’s life. Britany said Ruth “opened my eyes to a whole new world.”

“I think she gave me dignity,” Britany said. “She just always showed me that life can be better than what it was…She just gave me hope, just showed me that…you can forge your own path. You can become your own person…You have the ability to do things, and you have the ability to make your future.”

Today Britany is a freshman at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., majoring in biology and chemistry with a minor in psychology.

“I want to become an obstetrician …I know that for sure,” Britany said. “I’m kind of thinking about doing neo-natal surgery.”

Ruth says she’s so proud of the young woman that Britany has become. And reflecting on what Ruth has done for her over the years brought Britany to tears.

“You don’t know how much of an impact you’ve had on my life,” Britany said to Ruth.
Britany said she thinks of Ruth as a mother and told her, “When my mom left, I contemplated asking to move in with you and, like, be my mother.”

“(Ruth has) always been here for me no matter what,” Britany said. “She’s never put me down. She’s never told me I couldn’t do anything. She’s never not supported me. She’s never not pushed me to be my best.”

Britany told Ruth, “You’re probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.”


For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Fargo-Moorhead area, visit BBBSFargo.org.


2014 Annual Report PRINT-22

An overwhelming amount of cuteness at Nokomis Child Care Centers

small DSC_3726Get ready for some seriously cute kids. It’s Week of the Young Child, and Nokomis Child Care Centers has been celebrating with fun themes like Circus Day, Pajama Day, Super Hero Day, etc. Here are some photos from the festivities.

Find tons more on the Nokomis Facebook page.

There is hope for your relationship: The Village’s “Relationships 101″ course begins 3/31

Often couples feel like there is nothing they can do to save their relationship, but there is hope. You can move from the brink of despair to find the strong, loving, emotional connection you once had. The Village’s “Relationships 101″ course begins March 31 and will teach you important ingredients to create and sustain a strong, healthy relationship, how to strengthen the emotional connection between partners, and how to identify and change destructive patterns within the relationship. Call 701-451-4811 for more info.

Relationships101 VBI march 31

Ask Jane: How to help a fearful child

new how to help a frightened child facebook psd

By Jane Greminger
Program Director
Nokomis Childcare Centers

Q: “My son seems to be afraid of every little thing. Is this normal?”

A: It is very normal for children to exhibit fear, and the fear can be about nearly anything. Fear is necessary because it helps children avoid dangerous situations. But you also don’t want it to take over their lives. Consider the following tips for helping your son deal with his fears:

  • Respect your son’s fears and acknowledge they are real to him. Empathize with your son, letting him know you understand. Never be punitive to him or put him down for being afraid. Telling your child, “That’s absurd! There’s no such thing as a boogey man!” will only make him feel defeated.
  • Help your son build his confidence by helping him take small steps towards beating a particular fear. Approach his fears with caution, but don’t avoid them altogether. Avoiding fears will validate the fact that there is true reason to be afraid. For example, if your son is afraid of the water, avoiding water won’t help him conquer this fear. Take it one step at a time—introduce his fingers to the water first, then let him splash his toes, next have him try sitting in water, etc.
  • Don’t overreact. This will only intensify your child’s fear. Stay calm as you approach the situation so you don’t reinforce his feelings/behaviors of fear with your own elevated attention. Becoming tense and filling up with anxiety along with your son when he sees a dog that he’s afraid of will only escalate the situation. Instead, point out the facts by expressing them in a calm and confident manner. For example, “Look how that dog is wagging its tail. He is tied up in the yard. If we walk by it on the sidewalk, it won’t be able to reach us.”
  • Provide support to your child and reassure him. Because fear stems from a loss of control, try to figure out if there was a triggering event that caused the fear. Help your son conquer his fears by giving him words of encouragement. You can talk about any fears he’s already overcome and discuss the strategies he used to overcome them. This will comfort your son as you discuss his feelings. Talking about fears and anxieties will help your child work through it.

how to help a frightened child bw pint


Jane Greminger is the program director for Nokomis Child Care Centers in Fargo. While providing traditional child care in a nurturing, safe, stimulating environment for families able to pay for the care, Nokomis also fills a need for families with special needs, both financial and emotional.