Single Mothers Redefined

I met with Imani’s high school counselor today for some business related to her college applications. She said that she would not have known about a lot of her activities if I hadn’t told her because she is so humble. I told her that she doesn’t like to talk about herself. I do that for her, a little too well maybe. Then she said that I’ve been a remarkable role model for my daughter, accomplishing so many things as an independent woman. It kind of took me by surprise because I’m used to feeling like people think I’m inferior as a single mother. But she put a whole different spin on it. We should treat all single mothers this way. She didn’t try to tell me that she knows what it’s like, and make it about her. She just focused on our story, and honored us in a very dignified way.


Reblogging a Post from My Nonprofit, The Youth Legacy Foundation

I started a nonprofit several years ago, called The Youth Legacy Foundation. Here is a recent blog post that includes a link to our most recent e-newsletter. Lots of updates, for example, an upcoming presentation at the U of MN! I invite you to browse the website, which is rich in resources geared toward empowerment and inclusion of youth with disabilities. Click here to check it out…..

Help Us Change the World: Apply to the DCA’s Voices Institute

This is a repost of a blog I submitted to the direct care alliance in 2009.

Bridget (third from R) and colleagues at the 2008 Voices Institute training

Download the invitation letter and an application form you can mail or fax(PDF)

Apply online

“I would recommmend this training to anyone who wants to become a leader,” saysTracy Dudzinski, one of the empowered graduates of the 2008 Voices Institute National Leadership Institute.

The Voices Institute is now recruiting direct care workers to become the next class of leaders in a grassroots movement to strengthen and celebrate the workforce that provides vital services to Americans who need chronic care.

I know very well how important we are: I have been a direct care worker for well over a decade. For most of that time, I lacked a sense of having a connection with other direct care workers and felt powerless over my professional situation.

Then I attended the 2008 Voices Institute and found a network of new friends and colleagues. Being united with others who have a background similar to mine, and feeling a kinship and a bond with people who mirrored me, was one of the most inspirational times in my life.

For an entire week we were immersed in the Voices Institute curriculum, gathered together as a collective voice, overflowing with vision and capacity. Upon graduating from the Voices Institute, we were empowered like never before: stronger, smarter, and better-equipped with tools and knowledge to be effective direct care worker leaders.

Nothing else exists which can compare with the Voices Institute. With each new class of graduates from the Voices Institute every year, we will grow in power from the grassroots level.

If we do nothing to elevate the workforce, we will remain fragmented and overwhelmed. Those who graduated from theinaugural class are a lot of firecrackers who are now unstoppable. We are part of the foundation of the grassroots movement that will make transformative changes for direct care workers. True empowerment and professionalization of the direct care workforce require strong direct care worker leadership.

Now is your chance to step up! Whether you are already a leader, an aspiring leader, or just want to learn how you can lead, this is the program for you. I was once timid about taking leadership, but the Voices Institute changed my life and showed me what I can do. I am now coordinating the Voices Institute and nurturing others on their leadership journeys. Here is your chance to tap into your own potential!

The Voices Institute’s National Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for this year’s leadership development retreat, which will take place from September 27th to October 3rd at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin. The application deadline is April 30th, so please submit your nominations and applications as soon as you can. We look forward to welcoming you to the leadership ranks!

Visit the Voices Institute page of our website for more information.

Bridget Siljander
Direct Care  Worker Specialist
Direct Care Alliance