I love Families as Allies. I grew to love it long before I was a mom. I came to love it in the late 1990s when I was working as a psychologist. Families as Allies Founder and Executive Director Tessie Schweitzer came to my office unannounced and told me we needed to work together. She was right, and we did, along with many families along that journey.
Then Tessie took me to a meeting of Families as Allies’ parent organization, called the National Federation of Families. The power and kind, loving support I witnessed at that first conference took my breath away as all those families came together for and with each other. I came to love the Federation, too.
Fast forward through quite a few years—and one baby who has grown into a wonderful young man. I am now the executive director of Families as Allies, and my love for both Families as Allies and the Federation of Families has only deepened over the years.
That means the annual Federation of Families conference is one of the year’s highlights for both Families as Allies and me. It was in Chicago last week, and it was joyful. Our own Henry Moore presented Equity and Equality are Not the Same: Creating Equitable Rights, Equitable Opportunity and Equitable Treatment in Organizational Missions. I’m glad that the Federation creates an environment to have conversations that could be difficult. I’m also excited that Henry’s session led to lots of animated and thoughtful discussion.
I’m honored to serve on the board of the Federation and am currently the board president. I’m proud of the direction of the Federation, especially moving away from mental health awareness to mental health acceptance. The Federation is also exploring a broader definition of family peer support, including situations such as a sibling supporting a sibling or a child supporting a parent. You can give your feedback on these surveys here:
- For the Family Peer Support Workforce: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DefinitionForFSPs
- For Families and Family Members: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DefinitionForFamilies
There are many ways to partner with Families as Allies and the National Federation of Families. I hope you will!