You are a group member!
The Family Engagement Coordinator Scarf: The Connection & Support
Since February 2015, state deaf-blind project personnel serving in the role of Family Specialist/Family Engagement Coordinator have been meeting monthly to share ideas and knowledge. The group began with 10 members, but in just 2 years, has increased to 42. This growth is a testament to the commitment of the individuals who serve in this important role and their recognition that the support they provide to one another helps them better meet the needs of the families.
The concept of the group is simple. We meet on the second Tuesday of every month for 90 minutes. Each participant brings a celebration to share. Following the celebration, they share resources and offer solutions to questions or issues that members bring to the group regarding next steps in their work. One Family Engagement Coordinator recently said “These meetings are like coming home. I feel safe discussing obstacles and know that I will be met with countless good ideas”.
In July 2016, most of these remarkable people were able to attend a one-day training, hosted by NCDB, prior to the NFADB Symposium in Austin, TX. At that time, we engaged in a team-building activity that involved using yarn to build a web connecting everyone in the group. The web served as a metaphor for the connections that Family Engagement Coordinators have created to support one another to provide the best resources they can to families. After the training, the yarn was given to a young adult with deaf-blindness (who lives in Texas) and she turned it into a scarf for the group. That scarf has now hit the road and is flying across the country to family events sponsored by state deaf-blind projects. Over time, the scarf will visit all of the Family Engagement Coordinators. Each plans to have a photo taken of themselves “on the job” with the scarf and write a brief description of the event depicted in the photo. The goal is to share with everyone in the deaf-blind network the amazing array of activities individuals in this role provide for families.
I invite you to watch the stories unfold and join me in celebrating these amazing professionals. They know kids and they know families. It’s been an honor to get to know them better and watch their support for one another unfold in a collaborative way. Click here to learn about the first few stops on the scarf’s journey and follow the stories over time: https://nationaldb.org/wiki/page/10/749