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Mar 10 2013

Never Think That Your Voice Doesn’t Matter… Because It Does!

social-media1Social media has changed the world on so many levels.  As bloggers, with access to the internet and social media sites we are in the position to get messages out to individuals worldwide, in a way that just wasn’t possible years ago.  Knowing this, it’s not hard to understand why Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation began a ‘parenting blogger outreach program’ requesting assistance in raising awareness of international parental child abduction.  Raising awareness to save children’s lives!  Advocates know that the most important part of any advocacy program is raising social awareness and educating…. in the case of parental child abduction, it’s about educating parents.

Peter Thomas Senese, the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, along with Carolyn Vlk and Attorney Joel Walter, released an update of ‘Crisis In America‘, which shares data showing a decline in the rate of reported parental abductions in the United States during 2012.  Yes, I said DECLINE!! As one of those parenting bloggers that have been working with the I CARE Foundation in their efforts to raise awareness, this is amazing news!  To see the efforts of a team of child advocates and what a difference they can make… it’s truly inspiring!

I haven’t always been an advocate, but once my son was diagnosed with autism, I was quickly thrown into that world.  I had to learn the most effective way to advocate for him in society… if I didn’t do it, who would?  I advocate for my son to ensure that his voice is heard, when and where it needs to be, and through my blogging, every once in a while I am able to help another family realize that they have the ability and the right to give their child the voice that they deserve.

find-your-voice

In today’s world, it’s easy for a person to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and think that their voice doesn’t matter, but it does!  Until the last year, ‘my voice’ advocated on a small scale, mainly for my son… but through working with Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation, I have realized that my voice matters on a larger scale too.  Much more than I could have ever imagined… and so does yours!  Standing on your own, or with a group, your voice matters!

As far as my advocacy efforts related to parental child abduction goes, being a part of change… change that is protecting children… change that is saving lives… well, that’s pretty cool!  Seeing the data related to the decline in parental abductions… the numbers tell a story!  As far as advocating for my son, I don’t see statistics, but that’s alright, because I know in my son’s life, I am making a difference and it is important for his future.  As he matures he will learn to self-advocate – as he does sometimes – and he too will find his voice, though sometimes I think he already has!

A couple of weeks ago, Peter Thomas Senese asked if I would do an interview with him as part of his ‘Today’s Heroes’ series.  I was honoured and of course, said yes to his request.  I had a wonderful time talking with Peter as we discussed things like social media, advocacy and of course about ‘finding your voice’. For those that may not be aware, Peter is not only the author of the critically acclaimed Chasing The Cyclone, and an unrelenting child advocate, but he is truly one of the most generous individuals that I know and I am blessed to be able to call him a ‘friend’.  He has been a big part of my realization that my voice matters!

On a final note, if you should happen to be a parenting blogger… moms and dads alike… and are interested in assisting the I CARE Foundation as a part  of their blogger outreach program to help raise awareness of parental child abduction, or if you would just like more information, please contact me at JenniferCluff@stopchildabduction.org.   From a personal standpoint, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing a child or children are safe because of something that you were a part of.  I think frequently of the three children that were NOT taken to Saudi Arabia… NOT illegally taken from their mother… and ARE safe today because of a post that a mother read on Mom-ology.  You can read more about that in the interview that I did with Peter.

If you ever doubt that your voice matters… CLICK HERE and see why it does!

 

Jen

As a Canadian blogger and the mom of a child on the autism spectrum, Jen shares a lot about life while having a child with autism... raising autism awareness and the need for acceptance. She is an active advocate both online and in the community for those with autism but also service dogs. Also as a volunteer for the I CARE Foundation Jen shares a great deal of information about international parental child abduction (IPCA) in an effort to help raise awareness and educate parents about the risks and warning signs of international parental child abduction. Mom-ology has been ranked in the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs for 2012 & 2013, one of the Most Influential Canadian Mom Blogs for 2013 as well as placing in 1st (Disability) & 3rd (Activism & Social Justice) for the Canadian Weblog Awards 2013.

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  1. Peter Thomas senese

    Jennifer, you are one of the most remarkable persons I have ever met. You make a difference in the lives of so many. And your life and the path you are traveling on is an example for so many others to follow because you my friend, DID FIND YOUR VOICE.

    1. Jen

      Thanks Peter. Your kind words and support mean so much to me. I love doing what I do and look forward to continuing my ‘journey’ and hopefully helping others along the way. Cheers my friend! :)

  2. Maria Henderson

    Jennifer, what a beautifully written piece … thank you for sharing your thoughts on the positive change that is possible through using one’s voice! Spreading this message will inspire others! The I CARE Foundation and many, many families have greatly benefited from your assistance in bringing about awareness of child abduction through social media … THANK YOU!

    1. Jen

      Thanks for saying that Maria! I have sure learned a lot over the last year… both about IPCA and myself… realizing that one person can make a difference, big or small, it all matters! I appreciate you taking the time to read my post – that means a lot :) And I look forward to continuing my support of The I CARE Foundation!

  3. Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com

    Great job, Jen! Keep up the awareness. With new followers, they need the information as well.
    Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com recently posted..2013: Daylight Savings Time – Spring ForwardMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Thanks Tracy… appreciate the kind words my friend! ♥

  4. Jen

    Being an advocate for your child is one of the things I drum into people’s heads over and over. My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and a Tic Disorder. I became a Dr jumper when I realized certain doctors just weren’t taking me seriously. And that is when I realized some mom’s just don’t know they can take control of their lives and fight for their child! I know it’s not the same as abduction, but it’s the same as fighting. It’s great the work you do!

    1. Jen

      Jen, good for you! It doesn’t matter what we fight for… as long as we realize that we can. You are so right that there are so many mom’s and dad’s that don’t realize that they have the control – they ARE the voice of their children… they need to stand and be heard! And yes… make a difference! Keep up the great work Jen… your son is lucky to have you! Thanks for sharing this! :)

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