FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October is National Work and Family Month. Family Voices celebrates National Work and Family Month by honoring the many parents who care for a child or children with special health care needs and/or disabilities, and still manage to balance the exceptional demands of their home life with work outside the home supporting other families who have similar challenges.
All of the news in the United States lately seems to be about what will happen during the fewer than 35 days which remain of the U.S. presidential race. Most of those days will get checked off the calendar during the month of October. Perhaps appropriately, since both presidential candidates seem quite dedicated to the importance of family in their personal lives - with Mitt Romney the father of five boys and Barack Obama the father of two girls - October is National Work and Family Month.
This designation was created to communicate and celebrate the progress towards supporting healthier and more flexible work environments and to encourage employers to implement work-life effectiveness programs. It was identified by a resolution of the U.S. Senate in 2003 and in 2010 President Obama issued a presidential statement about National Work and Family Month which included these observations:
"Millions of Americans continue to struggle day-in and day-out to balance work and family life - to juggle their job responsibilities with caring for a child, an elderly relative, or a loved one with a disability."
For Family Voices, an organization dedicated to supporting families of children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities, these comments were noteworthy because of the attention they placed on the challenges of providing care for a loved one with a disability.
As the fever pitch of the current election race intensifies over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see whether the questions flagged in the 2010 presidential statement can somehow elbow their way onto the presidential debating platform. Is the balance between work and family, something which is central to the lives of many if not most Americans, an important enough topic for discussion by the presidential candidates in the face of other pressing issues?
Two parent heroes, who take care of children with special health care needs in the home, while helping other parents with similar challenges, are Andrea Leon and Deepa Srinivasavaradan. Each mother works with the Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC) in her respective state, Andrea in New Mexico and Deepa in New Jersey.