Family Voices director speaks at Rotary Club
Donene Fiest, director of Family Voices of North Dakota, Jolene Sjostrom and Ron Truax, members of the Family Voices of North Dakota Board of Directors, discussed the organization at the recent Rotary Club meeting. This nonprofit organization provides support, information, resources, training and leadership opportunities for families who have children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs, they said.
Family Voices is a statewide, grassroots network of families and friends, advocates for health care services that are family-centered, community-based, comprehensive, coordinated and culturally competent for all children and youth with its special health care needs, Fiest said. They promote the inclusion of all families as decision makers at all levels of health care and support essential partnership between families and professional.
Children have challenging conditions that usually make their lives and the lives of their families more complicated, Fiest said. Some of the children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities, and others may suffer mental, emotional or chronic illness. Many present a brief but life-threatening medical problems. She said some children only need an accurate diagnosis and routine treatment and monitoring, while others will require life-sustaining technology, treatment and medicines throughout their lives.
Nearly 20,000 children in the state of North Dakota have a chronic condition of some kind, Fiest said. More than 40 percent of these children have a health condition that limits their play and school activities. She said the role of Family Voices is to assure that families receive informational and emotional support in caring for their child.
Sjostrom and Truax shared their role as board members of Family Voices and shared some of the trials and struggles as parents of a special-need child and how Family Voices has helped them work in the health care systems, insurances and governmental agencies. For more information, call 1-888-522-9654.
Carrie Orn presided over the meeting and Jason Bitz gave the table blessing. Larry Hoffman and Jackie Tewes led the group in singing songs that had to do with water, since the area has received lots of rain in the past week or two. Doug Panchot collected "Happy Dollars."
Nick Schmidt gave a brief overview of being a Paul Harris Fellow. He said the club's board of directors will match the first $100 toward the total gift of $1,000 to any Rotary member wishing to become a Paul Harris Fellow or any sustaining member of the club. These funds help to provide vaccine in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. The Jamestown Club has 26 Paul Harris Fellows.
Orn thanked the club's efforts for selling roses. The club should profit about $2,500 for this project, she said. Many complements were given about the quality of the Rotary Soccer Field when the state soccer tournament was held in Jamestown.
Student guests today are Kayla Weng and Rainy Selvig, juniors at Jamestown High School. They both participate in volleyball. Warren Tobin is in charge of today's program, Vince Gregor will give the table blessing, Casey Stoudt is song leader and Duane Dunn is the sergeant at arms.