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Network 1424 Central Avenue NE      East Grand Forks, MN  56721  1‐800‐820‐7263  Building strong families. Connecting people and resources. Strengthening communities.

DECEMBER 2012 Family Voice and Choice Network Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc 1-800-820-7263 ● Nancy Ramon ● Maureen Hams (218) 779-3009 (218) 689-2184

Dear Families and Friends of Family Voice & Choice Network: I want to update you on the what has been happening the past two months with Family Voice & Choice. We set up a table at several schools this past month during Parent-Teacher conferences and I was able to make some good connections with parents to tell them about our program. I would like to thank Highland School in Crookston, Gary school and Karlstad school in making me feel welcome and allowing us to share time with the parents. We will plan to do this at other schools this spring. One of our goals was to find a “Champion” in each school that would assist us in getting out our information to parents. We have contacted each school and have been hearing back from the schools regarding their willingness to help us connect to all parents. We are working on our website and plan to use this as another way to communicate with everyone. The website is Please check it out in the coming months as we develop it to make it a good place for resources. We are looking for parents to serve on the Local Advisory Council. This is a state required council that supports and informs county commissioners and community leaders regarding mental health needs in our communities. Each county is required to have one. With the support of the surrounding counties we have made this into a multi-county LAC. If you are or know someone interested in serving please contact Maureen or myself at 1-800-820-7263. Starting with this newsletter, we will be e-mailing to those that we have available email addresses. If you prefer to receive it by e-mail, please let me know your e-mail address. You can send it to May the upcoming holidays bring you and your families the happiness and joy that you deserve.

Family Voice and Choice Network is supported by Northwest Foundation and Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives.

Parent Support Groups The support groups are an informal system created by parents to provide information, education, and support for parents. They allow parents to exchange ideas, develop and practice parenting skills, give and receive support. Parents Helping Parents

Chit Chat Lunch Bunch

Every Tuesday evening at 6:30pm

2nd Thursday of the Month

1407 Erskine Street Crookston

12:06pm to 12:51pm at Riverview Hospital-Room 2

Free Child Care

Or 3rd Thursday at the Villa

East Grand Forks


3rd Thursday of the Month

3rd Wednesday of the Month

6pm at 1825 Central Ave NW

12:00am (noon) at Fosston Library

Free Day Care

Red Lake Falls

Twin Valley

3rd Thursday of the Month

2nd Tuesday of the Month

7pm at the Public Library

6:30pm at Municipal Center

Mahnomen 3rd Monday of the Month 6:30pm at 1st Lutheran Church

TIPS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS As the Holiday season is coming upon us, there can be pressure and extra stress that we need to deal with. It usually starts around Halloween and continues as we try to fit everything and everybody into this important holiday season. One of the things we can look at is to determine what the holiday season means to you and your family. Ask yourself these questions: 1. What are you celebrating? 2. What values do you think of when you think of your holiday? 3. Consider past holidays. Where did you invest your energy? Was it worth it? 4. As a family, consider the traditions that you practice. Which ones do you enjoy? Which ones bring your family closer together? Sometimes the simplest rituals are the most meaningful. It’s okay to re-evaluate and let past traditions go. How about entertaining? Who says the house has to be perfectly clean or elaborately decorated? Ask others to bring their favorite dish. Use paper plates or buy prepared foods. Think simple, and focus on the purpose of the get together. Managing your time: 1. consider past holidays and where you invested your energy. Decide to rid yourself of the things you dislike about the holidays. 2. Don’t spend the holidays just fulfilling obligations. Pick and chose what you want to do rather than what you think others expect you to do. 3. Set priorities and let go of impossible goals. Don’t try to complete everything at once. 4. Don’t over schedule yourself and your family. Leave some time unplanned to relax and just be at home with each other. 5. Ask others to help you complete your chores. 6. Take breaks and take care of your self. Taken from my clivelandclinic

RESOURCE LENDING LIBRARY The Family Voice & Choice Network has a resource lending library. We have a variety of books and brochures available to families and professionals to check out. Topics available include: ADHD, raising children with special needs, guiding behaviors, par enting, working with schools, health concerns, nutrition, autism and raising grand children. If you are interested in a resource please call us at 1-800-820-7263 and we will either send you a list of resources or choose something for you in the topic area you are interested in. Resources will be mailed out to you with a self-addressed, postage paid envelope for you to return it in.

REVIEW OF A LIBRARY RESOURCE ITEM We have 2 books available to check out from PACER. The first one is titled “Parents can be the Key”. It’s a handbook on rights and responsibilities in Special Education for parents of children with disabilities. As a parent, you know your child in a way no one else can. You are an expert on you child and a vital member of the team that plans your child’s education. This booklet will guide you to be an effective advocate for your child. Exercising those rights and fulfilling your responsibilities are important steps in supporting your child on their educational journey. Some of the topics discussed: 1. What is Special Education Services? 2. What is the evaluation process? 3. What is an Individualized Education Program?

4. Appeals and safeguards and commonly asked questions. The other booklet is titled “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now”. It shares the wisdom and advise from parents of children with disabilities. I would like to share some “I wish I had… comments from some of the parents: “I wish I had know that being the mother of 2 children with disabilities would make me a better person.” “I wish I had listened to my heart more than to what other told me.” “I wish I had talked to my other kids more about her disability and what it meant to be a family.” “I wish I had the courage to seek out other parents for support.” If you are interested in receiving these booklets, please call Nancy at 1-800820-7263 and I will sent them out to you.

Websites for your family 6 WAYS TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS ON A BUDGET 1. Budget carefully. Calculate a holiday budget before hitting the stores. Write a list of everything you will need from gifts to food to cards and wrapping, and how much you can spend on each. Stick to the list! 2. Draw names. For a large group, like the adults in the family, consider drawing names so each person buys a gift for only one other. Set a price limit on giving. 3. Let the kids get creative. Instead of buying gifts from the kids to give to family members, your kids can put their artistic skills to use drawing pictures and publishing their own book of masterpieces, that grandparents, aunts and uncles will love. 4. Consider a gift of service. Older grandparents may appreciate a year’s worth of small landscaping services such as shoveling the walk in the winter and mowing the grass in the summer. Offer your sister with children a babysitting service once a month. 5. See what’s free. Visit free attractions instead of paying for the pricey ones. Check out Christmas lights in your neighborhood and surrounding area. Attend church and school Holiday programs. 6. Remember to give back. The best way to stop spending on gifts that will be forgotten in a month is to give of your time. Every community has a need. Help serve lunch at the homeless shelter, read stories to the kids in the local hospital, visit a senior in a nursing home, walk a dog at the Humane Society. Giving during the holidays was never about the materialistic nature—it should be about making the world a better place. This is the best gift of all.

Reprinted from

A lot of resources and information is available for children and families on the internet. You need to be very careful about information you find and very cautious about websites, but there are many quality sites out there. Here are a few sites you can look at :– resource and information center for families and youth with disabilities, bullying resources– a mental health advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families and resources for children and families promoting positive mental health– resources and information regarding substance abuse, mental health and services for children and families– a website for Minnesota children with special health needs and their families about IDEA, special education and disability issues– online games and resources for children with an illness– resources and information for parents— resources and activities on preventing bullying and how to handle bullying

Do you or someone you know need help paying for groceries? What is SNAP? The supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, is a federal program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNAP helps low-income individuals pay for food. The goal is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition increasing a family’s ability to purchase food. How does it Work? Minnesotans who are approved for the program receive a plastic debit card called an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. It looks like a regular credit or debit card. Each month benefits are deposited into the household’s account. The card can be used as grocery stores, markets, box stores and some farmers markets. Benefits can be used to purchase foods to e prepared at home. Benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items, such as paper products, household and personal hygiene supplies, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medications, pet food, foods eaten in the store or hot ready-to -eat “deli” foods. Who can use this program? SNAP is intended to help purchase food for eligible families and individuals of all ages, including children and seniors. Household size, income and other factors determine program eligibility and benefit amounts. Those who qualify must meet certain guidelines. To find out more information or to apply visit: Call your local county Social Services Agency or call the Minnesota Food Helpline at 1-888-711-1151. For nutrition information visit:

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 This is an Equal Opportunity Program. Discrimination in this program is prohibited by Federal law. It is illegal to discriminate against any person because of race, color or national origin. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to: USDA Director, Office of the Civil Rights, Room 326-W Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Ave S.W. , Washington, DC, 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964.

Profile for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

December 2012 FVC Newsletter  

December 2012 Family Voice and Choice Newsletter

December 2012 FVC Newsletter  

December 2012 Family Voice and Choice Newsletter