February marks our one year Facebook anniversary. While this may not seem like a milestone worth dedicating an entire blog post to, we see this as more than celebrating the existence of a social media page. Our Facebook page has been a place where parents and families can unite, share their story and support each other along the challenging journey of raising children with social, emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges. The page has grown to 500+ followers since we started it one year ago. This is 500+ more mothers, fathers, grandparents, and primary caregivers who are able to access resources, read blog posts that highlight parents who have been in their shoes and be connected to a group of people who understand that the best way to ensure that a child is supported is to lift up and empower their support system.
It is very fitting that February marks our one year on Facebook because as you have seen from all of our February blog posts it is also Parent Leadership Month. We have been able to share stories of how people who thought they were just "ordinary parents" have grown to be leaders and advocates without even realizing it. You see, that is the thing about parenting there is nothing ordinary about it. Through our social media pages, which include YouTube and LinkedIn, we have posted uplifting and inspiring stories as well as heart-wrenching personal testimonies about how truly challenging parenting can be.
If you scroll through our page you will see stories ranging from getting your teenager through the death of an idol to inspirational parenting making a difference in their communities, and everything in between.
Hopefully, you have seen what our social media presence as a whole has grown to be but we are really excited about what is to come. On February 12th we had our first Facebook Live event that centered around answering questions regarding 504 Plans and IEPs. This new feature will become a monthly staple of our online presence and will allow you to get fast answers to questions that your families has. We understand that scheduling is one of the challenges of parenting and not everyone could hop on to the video when it goes live so we'll break the questions up into smaller chunks and put them up on our YouTube channel for you to access on demand.
Our main mission is to help families find and share their voices so one of our brand new features is under the Share Your Story tab on our website. This new feature allows parents and family members to ask questions directly to us, and also to share information from their lived experiences. There is nothing more powerful than a parent sharing their story with other parents and this will allow you to do just that. We plan to utilize this tool to help us find new and unique perspectives in our blog and connect even more parents across the state. When using this feature you will be able to ask your question or leave your feedback in your choice of text, audio, or video responses.
Are you a member yet? If so, this article was delivered straight to your inbox as soon as it was published and usually up to one week early than it's promoted elsewhere. Members have the opportunity to be more involved and have their voice and concerns potentially shape policy and services across the state. We continue to roll out more and more perks for our members so make sure you become a member today.
In our second year, we are placing an emphasis on continuing to create original content just like our Mental Health Consent Document. With the success of this document, we have made it our mission to create original content, including tip sheets to help inform our families about a variety of topics ranging from getting dads involved to how to prepare and manage a crisis or emergency situation. Keep an eye out for these tip sheets by signing up for our new biweekly newsletter. This newsletter will replace our previous quarterly newsletter. If you're interested in suggesting a topic for a tip sheet, have lived experience to share or are an expert on a topic and would like to contribute reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We'd love to have you involved!
With an eye to the future, we continue to grow across social media platforms and are pleased to announce our new Instagram channel! Give our Instagram a follow @parent_alliance to get even more relatable posts and inspiration that will help you know that you are never alone on your parenthood journey.
If you haven't already heard we are now accepting applicants for our Leadership Development Program! Families from across the state will be selected to become our first leadership cohort supporting one another while collaborating on individual projects near and dear to their hearts. Deadline for applications is March 6th so sign up soon if you are interested.
We're also very excited to partner with NAMI Keystone to co-host the Mental Health and Wellness Conference on May 18th and 19th. Family voice will be a key feature of this engaging and valuable conference. Watch for information on scholarships for families.
We want to thank you for your support to help us grow from a simple Facebook to a vibrant website with multiple social media channels and opportunities for families across the state. Your support is appreciated and we want to encourage you to become a member, if you aren't already, to easily access all of the great information we have available for families.