2016 Summer Picnic

Network with your Colorado cleft community while children enjoy face painting, games, food, and special appearances

August 14, 2016

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In honor or Awareness Month: Quick note from Jamie Bell - Co-Founder of Face-to-Face Colorado.
One of the things that I get approached most from parents and family members of children with cleft lip and/or palate is that they noticed other kids out in public and they weren't sure how to approach parents - or even IF they should approach the family.
While I am not a parent of a child with cleft, I am an adult with bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate and I am a parent. I have also consulted with Katie Glowacki, Social Worker with the Cleft Palate Clinic at Children's Hospital to make sure that my opinion is something I should be telling to others. She assured me that it was - phew. "As long as you approach a parent of a child with cleft with a kind heart and good intentions, they will not feel threatened from the get-go," she said.
Personally - I like to tell people to start off with what your connection is to the cleft community. "Ma'am, my sister has unilateral cleft lip and I noticed that your baby has one too, she is SO cute" or "I am in the process of finding a speech therapist to treat my daughter for her cleft, do you have any recommendations since your child is a little older than mine?"
Approaching another parent in this way makes them realize that you are noticing their child in a positive light - and it gives them an opportunity for a 'parent-bragging' moment. Find me a parent that doesn't want every opportunity to talk about their child...I dare you...and if it so happens to be with someone that can understand what they are also going through - well that's just a bonus.
From the child's perspective, if you are defensive or embarrassed about talking about their scars or cleft with strangers, then it could give them the impression that it's a taboo topic that should not be talked about. The prouder you are to talk about them, the prouder they will be of their own cleft and the more willing they will be to talk about it themselves later on.
Just because someone approaches you in a way you may not like - doesn't mean your attitude or response needs to change. Take this opportunity to teach others about cleft lip and cleft palate.
Awareness is knowledge and knowledge is power...or something just as inspirational. ~Jamie Bell
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Signed by the Colorado author herself!! Silent Auction Item #8 - Set of Autographed Warren the Honking Cat books by Virginia K. White

What a fun book and a meaningful story. The message for anyone, child or adult, that we need to follow our own way, is set up and told in an engaging manner with "characters" any child knows and would like to have in his own life. Ms. White knows how to weave a yarn to engage her readers and still give a good message. Be unique, live your life…who knows what you will become and whose lives you will impact.

-Steve Kascht
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