This is more than a slogan and a campaign to me and the people at Children First, Inc. It gives us the chance to look inside and take a look back at all the work we have done and figure out how we have gotten to this point in life. How we have persevered through tough times or how we coped in order to stay strong. The dig deep aspect lets people understand that in order to build a fortitude, standing strong, you have to start with a foundation which is how you dig deep. A firm willow tree was not initially that tall and powerful. It started off with soil and seeds that needed sunlight, water. All that tending and care is what led it to the state it is in now. The tending and care that affected us is called life and has led us to who we are currently now. Share your story of life, of how you had to Dig Deep to Build Strong. On social media, several stakeholders will be sharing their story of how they had to dig deep, so make sure you follow along on Instagram and Facebook! Now I want to share my story of how I dug deep to build strong.
Growing up I spent a majority of my youth in New Jersey. My mom worked a lot so I would spend almost all of my time at my grandmother's house. I loved when there were snow days because that meant no school and more quality time with her. She is the woman who taught me all the principles in life, but still how to have fun. She taught me how to draw, sew, and paint. Whenever I am struggling or going through tough times I cannot go to my grandmother's house. We are separated by several states but she is always a phone call away. When I need to dig deep I remember everything she taught me. I sew to put my mind at ease. I draw to gather inspiration. And I paint to remember when she would mix the blues and yellows for me, creating several colors with the little amounts we had. For me, digging deep to build strong is going back to days I spent with my grandma and remembering all the love, support, and wisdom she gave me and using it for whatever task or hardship I am trying to accomplish.
Social Media Intern at Children First
Within the next few days and weeks, many students will be returning to the classroom for the first time after a year and a half of almost exclusively virtual learning. Combine those novel feelings with the usual “back to school” jitters, and these next weeks are a recipe for increased anxiety and nervousness. And it’s likely that parents, caregivers and/or guardians of school-age children everywhere are searching for answers as to how to get through this.
And, well, the truth is, there really isn’t a step-by-step guide on navigating this exact situation because this is new for all of us. Every single one of us is going through this for the first time, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we can do to try to make this as seamless as possible, all while recognizing our children’s real emotions about this very novel way of life.
While searching for information on how to prepare kids for school “post” pandemic, a link for PBS Kids Back to School came up and it seems that there is a multitude of helpful information to help make transition a little easier.
Going Back To School Post-Transition
This specific article gives us ten different ways to support your child as they go back to the classroom. Here are some highlights:
A similar article, How to Handle a Tough First Day of School talks about some similar tactics and if you’d like more tips as those shared above, it likely would be beneficial.
Beating Back-To-School Jitters and Coping with Back-To-School Anxiety
Above are two articles that really tackle the difficult stuff. Children’s mental health is just as potent as that of adults, and in a time like this, they are not immune to feeling big nerves. Here are some highlights:
Below is a video from PBS Kids Talk Series exploring Back to School! This video, included in a series of videos about Back to School, talks to actual kiddos about how they feel going back to school. We hope this little tidbit brings you some joy and that it helps get you in good spirits as school starts.
You got this, kid (and adult, too!)
Unless you’re closely involved in the foster care realm in some facet, you likely don’t understand it, BUT you probably think you do. Because before working with Children’s First, I also thought I did.
The media portrays foster care as a sanctuary for children with unfit parents, usually those that fall victim to the perpetual cycle of substance abuse, or those that are either victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. To the public, all children in foster care are scathed by a history of abuse and/or neglect at the hands of their parents and that therefore, every child in foster care is in need of a “new, loving home”.
That, however, is just not the reality of foster care.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Children's Bureau has identified a list of risk factors that may hinder a parent and/or caregivers’ perceived ability to parent a child. These risk factors include things that are often out of an individual’s control and are, frankly, striking, like financial hardship or disability.
Many circumstances in which children are removed from their homes could be avoided, had there been some sort of resource or program that helped keep families together. As stated in the previous paragraph - the risk factors listed above are based on perceived inability of an individual to parent, without any regard to whether or not it infringes on the rights of the individuals themselves.
This knowledge isn’t commonplace and with the romanticization of the foster care system and adoption, and the results of it, in movies like The Blind Side, society’s judgement is certainly clouded as it pertains to the foster care system. Add in the ever growing presence of social media and bloggers that capitalize on foster and adoption in today’s society and things are muddied even more.
Reunification takes place far more often than one might think, especially as it compares to the way in which it is portrayed in the media and on social media. In fact, according to The Children’s Bureau, 55% of children in foster care left by way of reunification with their parents and/or family members. With over half of the children being reunited with the people in their families, one can only surmise that it is, indeed, a big part of foster care resolution.
Earlier in the month, Children First shared a post that addressed the #FosterToAdopt hashtag, especially as it compares to #FosterToReunify. The #FosterToAdopt hashtag is full of thousands of smiling faces, letter boards, and happy moments while the #FosterToReunify hashtag is, more or less, far more empty (but also not lacking in happy moments).
The narrative needs to shift to one that acknowledges that #FamiliesAreBetterTogether and that fostering with the intent to reunify is not only positively impacting the lives of the kids you serve, but also the families that are behind them.
As June comes to a close, so does #NationalReunificationMonth, but the movement toward shifting the perspective about reunification marches forward and we are proud to be just a small part of that.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.