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Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

       If you knew that your child, sister, brother, father, mother or someone important to you was in danger…would you take action to change what was about to happen?  I would say that most of us would agree, that if we could change the chances of our loved ones being in danger or suffering….most of us would do the thing that it would require to keep them safe! (more…)

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        Oprah has been doing an “experiment”…she has been following a vegan diet for 21 days to increase her spiritual awareness of food.  The experiment was induced by author Kathy Feston of the book, Quantam Wellness.  The diet puts into practice the removal of alcohol, animal products, gluten, and sugar and caffeine from a person’s daily meals and snacks.  (more…)

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        For those of you who have never heard of Operation Smile it is a great not-for-profit organization that organizes volunteers who team up to medically improve the lives of children who were born with facial deformities.  The non profit was begun by Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. who is a plastic surgeon and his wife.  

         Together he and his wife Kathleen S. Magee, who is a nurse and clinical social worker, put their skills into practice since 1982, working towards helping improve the life conditions of children who have been impacted by cleft palates and other facial deformities.  For a relatively low cost of approximately $240.00 a child’s life can be radically changed.  The impact of this life changing operation can not be praised enough.  Improving a child or young adult’s self esteem is invaluable to the quality of life they will have.  Many people who are born with facial deformities endure physical and emotional hardships due to the mistreatment from others.  Building up children and their families by bringing this kind of health services to them that they could not possibly afford on their own is a major humanitarian contribution.

           Operation Smile has grown to include a large volume of volunteers who labor to bring health and happiness to those who receive the benefit of it’s services.  At this point, over 26 countries are considered partner countries who are actively working with Operation Smile.  Their headquarters are located in Norfolk, Virginia.  They have offices around the world to educate and bring awareness of their cause and in those offices they work to raise funds to pay for the charitable works that they do.

        If you are interested in donating either your medical skills, your time, or fundraising abilities or even donating money here is the number to call 1-888-OPSMILE (888-677-6453) .  In Norfolk they also bring children to America to receive care on scholarships that they might not be able to receive in their own country for the more complicated surgeries.  Training is also provided for those with medical skills who wish to advance their specialized skills for work in the area of facial deformities.

         Cindy McCain, a philanthropist and businesswoman has been on Operation Smile’s board of directors for some time.  She has worked with this organization since 2001; long before her husband, Senator John McCain became a Republican presidential hopeful for the 2008 election.

          If her husband’s run for the presidency brings some attention and focus on her work with Operation Smile; I don’t think that Cincy McCain will mind.  That focus may bring more medically skilled volunteers as well as donations of money that will help Operation Smile to continue bringing, hope and help to those in need.  http://www.operationsmile.org/   Is there a willingness in your heart to help or to donate to this great organization?  https://www.operationsmile.org/help/donate/

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       I was thinking on the idea of generosity last night.  I believe the spirit of generosity comes from a person’s value system.  At the very basis of who they are, comes a willingness to give; and to share their gifts, talents,knowledge, and resources with others.  It is a beautiful thing to give without thought of getting something in return.  And yet, giving without some thought of balance can be destructive.  A person who has truly mastered the gift of generosity of spirit, gives in ways that are healthy for both the giver, and the receiver.

       To know the difference between giving, and enabeling.  Having boundaries on both sides is a tricky thing; so that, one person is not doing all of the giving and inspiring while the other is doing all of the taking.   Having clear boundaries and expectations helps each side to know what is required to maintain that balance.   

          That when when giving and receiving are mixed together it can inspire others when they have the opportunity to do the same.    That is the balance that i am talking about…giving can incorporate time, skill sets, energy, knowledge, or material things.  It isn’t even really that important what you give…what is important, is being aware of the needs of others around you; and, being willing to sacrifice a little of what you have been blessed with to benefit others.   Do you know someone who can benefit from what you have to offer?  I would love to hear about your thoughts on generosity!

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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