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About J. Shane Mercer

I am the digital marketing specialist at The Village Family Service Center. Keep up with Village news and events at https://www.facebook.com/thevillagefamily and on Twitter at @VillageFamily

RDO Caters Taters: How many potatoes does it take? Find out in this video

The Village is so happy that RDO has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters as the benefiting charity for this year’s RDO Caters Taters event on Nov. 6. In the video below, you can get all kinds of information about the event, including an answer to that all-important question: “How many potatoes does it take?”

Children impacted by domestic violence to undergo play assessments

On October 6, Anna Marie’s Alliance will begin a partnership with The Village Family Service Center to assist with the child component of their domestic abuse safety planning. Safety planning will be held at The Village’s St. Cloud office, and Village staff will participate by assessing the impact of domestic violence on children through the use of play assessments.

A play assessment will consist of therapists spending time with the child/ren in free play while looking for themes of the play that might relate to any concerning events and issues in the child’s life. Anna Marie’s staff will also be meeting with the children and teaching safety planning as well as assessing their current hopes, fears, and dreams.

Following the assessment, Village and Anna Marie’s staff will share their findings with the mother, and discuss options for future services, if necessary.

Safety planning is held for women who have an active Order of Protection or Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) and are hoping to have it modified by the judge.  It consists of learning about relationship dynamics where domestic violence has been present, and aspects of power and control, as well as learning about and making a solid safety plan for the future.  It is held in a small group format while the children are meeting with therapist and advocates.

The Village was chosen to participate because of its expertise in dealing with children and trauma. All of The Village’s St. Cloud staff is trained in evidence-based interventions for children and adults who have been impacted by a traumatic event.

Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence can be very traumatic to children and impact them throughout the rest of their lives. Counselors at The Village give children and adults the opportunity to process and work through the trauma. The collaboration with Anna Marie’s will provide a more seamless entry into mental health services for women and children victims of domestic violence that need additional support.

For more information about the partnership or the impact of domestic violence on children, contact Amber Morrighan at The Village Family Service Center, 320-253-5930 or Patty Hackett at Anna Maries Alliance, 320-253-6900.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to kick off ID theft awareness campaign in Fargo

FARGO – Identity theft is a serious crime with a rising number of victims. To help people safeguard their personal information, The Village Financial Resource Center and Record Keepers, LLC, are sponsoring an identity theft awareness campaign.

Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Attorney General, will kick off the week with a press conference 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7 at The Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., Fargo. Stenehjem will talk about the impact of identity theft on North Dakotans and an identity theft expert from The Village will be on hand to share ways consumers can safeguard their financial information.

Then, The Village and Recordkeepers will offer free shredding and hard drive recycling

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem

in both Bismarck and Fargo.

There will be free shredding and hard drive recycling events in Bismarck and Fargo:

  • In Bismarck, free shredding and hard drive recycling will be 10- a.m. – 4 p.m. Oct. 7 in the parking lot of Record Keepers, 2624 Vermont Ave.
  • In Fargo, free shredding and hard drive recycling will be Oct. 8 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and Oct. 9 (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.) in the parking lot of The Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., Fargo.

Bring your outdated financial records, including bank statements, old checks, credit card statements and offers, and other items that contain personal and financial information for free shredding donated by Record Keepers, LLC. Material is limited to four banker boxes or shopping bags, and two hard drives (removed from the CPU). Food pantry donations are welcome.

For more information, contact Joshua Huffman at The Village Financial Resource Center, 701-451-5003.

The Village Financial Resource Center is a nonprofit community service organization that provides confidential financial guidance, counseling, money management education, and debt management assistance to consumers. More info at helpwithmoney.org.

Still looking for volunteers for one-day Big Brothers Big Sisters event

The BIG Blast is 3-9 p.m. Thursday (time is flexible), and we would love to have your help as we try to get 500-1,000 flyers up in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The aim is to get the word out about mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you can hang up a flyer, you can help Big Brothers Big Sisters!

For more info about volunteering for The BIG Blast, check out this post.

For more info about the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program, check out our website.


Volunteers needed: ‘Big BLAST’ aims to distribute up to 1,000 flyers for FM Big Brothers Big Sisters

Local Big Brothers Big Sisters organizers hope to distribute 500-1,000 flyers across Fargo-Moorhead during The BIG Blast, 3-9 p.m., Oct. 2, and they’re looking for volunteers to help with the effort.

Organizers hope to have 50 to 100 volunteers for the event. The aim is to encourage people in the community to become mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The BIG Blast kicks off at the Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave. S. in Fargo. From there, volunteers will fan out to various parts of the city to hang up and/or hand out posters.

Door prizes include a flatscreen TV, Fargo Force Tickets, various gift certificates and more. For more info on The BIG Blast, visit bbbsfargo.org.

To volunteer, email smercer@thevillagefamily.org or call (701) 451-4938. Hashtag for the event is #bigblast.


Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program that facilitates mentoring relationships between youth and adults. BBBS in Fargo-Moorhead is a program of The Village Family Service Center. More info at bbbsfargo.org

Free document shredding offered at The Village Oct. 8 and 9

Identity Theft Awareness Shred Days are set for Oct. 7 in Bismarck and Oct. 8 and 9 in Fargo.

Bring your outdated financial records including bank statements, old checks, credit card statements and offers, and other items that contain personal and financial information for free shredding donated by Record Keepers, LLC. You can also have old hard drives destroyed, and an identity theft expert will be on hand. Coffee, juice, and cookies will be served.

The Bismarck event is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the parking lot of Record Keepers, 2624 Vermont Ave. in Bismarck.

The Fargo events are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 8 and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the parking lot of The Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., in Fargo.

Material is limited to four banker boxes or shopping bags, and two hard drives (removed from the CPU). We will also be accepting food pantry donations. For more information, contact The Village Family Service Center at (701) 235-3328 or (800) 450-4019.

‘Ask Jane:’ How do I get my kids to go to bed?

By Jane Greminger
Nokomis Child Care Centers of The Village 

Editor’s note: Jane Greminger is the director of Nokomis Child Care Centers, which is part of The Village Family Service CenterNokomis 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: How do I get my kids to go to bed?

A: It’s all about establishing a routine! A routine will help you have a smooth transition to bedtime. You will develop a regular sleep pattern for your children when you choose a bedtime and be consistent with it.

Your procedures for getting your child ready for bed may slightly vary from one night to the next, depending on how tired and ready for bed your child feels. And there will always be times in your life when outings or events cause you to veer from bedtime. However, the basic elements of your nighttime routine should always remain the same.

Establish a household routine early in your child’s life. The following suggestions are common components of a nighttime routine that can be adjusted to fit your family’s needs.

  • Have your child change into a comfortable pair of pajamas.
  • Set the temperature in your home at a comfortable setting.
  • Brush teeth.
  • Give your child a warm bath—it can be calming and relaxing.
  • Pick up toys and clean up.
  • Say goodnight to your pets.
  • Spend quiet time with your child—read stories, sing lullabies, visit quietly, etc.
  • Allow your child to eat a light and healthy snack and/or get a small drink (but no large amounts of liquid).
  • Have your child use the bathroom one last time before bed.
  • Find things to comfort your child such as a stuffed animal, a night light, or soft music.

Setting firm, fair limits with your bedtime routine is also very important. Many times children will “delay” or “extend” what they’re doing in an attempt to stay up longer. For example, if part of your routine is to say goodnight to your pets and your child continues to hold, pet, and play with your pet, then it’s time to set boundaries as to what it means to say goodnight to your pet. When bedtime routines aren’t managed, they can be drawn out to the point to which their purpose is defeated.

Planning for active days can also help at bedtime so that your child doesn’t have built-up energy at night when it’s time to go to bed.

Allow some flexibility when it comes to establishing the routine that works for your family, but set limits and timeframes that help keep your child on a consistent and regular nighttime schedule. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says, “Sleep, like diet and exercise, is important for our minds and bodies to function normally.”


























Village offering “Relationships 101″ classes

“Relationships 101″ is a 6-week class beginning Sept. 16, 2014, at The Village’s Moorhead office.

It can often be difficult to know if working hard at your relationship will be enough to save it. Often couples feel like there is nothing they can do that will work 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.

Call 701-451-4811 to register. More info at https://www.thevillagefamily.org/events/view/60.

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.