Extended Family is fortunate to be working with an outstanding group of speakers this year for our Extended Leadership Academy (ELA) programs.  One speaker, who also serves on Extended Family’s Board of Directors, is Tanya Ragan, Mental Health Coordinator for Etowah County Schools. 

Mrs. Ragan’s presentation, Positive Self Talk, helps Our Kids navigate the complex emotional journey each faces daily.  One way she illustrates her message is by holding up a twenty dollar bill and asking, “What is the value of this?”  After the students answer, “It’s worth $20,” she begins to pass it down the line and let each child participate in wadding it up, stomping, throwing, kicking it, etc. until it reaches the end.  Then, Tanya picks up the bill off the floor, smooths it out, and asks the question again, “What is the value of this?”  And, again, the students answer, “It’s still worth $20.”

“You mean to tell me,” Tanya asks incredulously, “that after all that has happened to this, it is still worth $20?” and, this time as Our Kids answer, they begin to grin because they suddenly realize that, although in life they do sometimes get knocked down, defeated, maybe even mistreated, they do not lose their value, which is, as Tanya reminds them, worth so much more and is so much more resilient than a twenty dollar bill!

In the coming days, as we pause collectively as a nation to remember to be thankful, we are so grateful to Mrs. Ragan and all of our wonderful speakers and other volunteers who work with us to bring light to Our Kids!  We are also grateful to all of our supporters, who help Extended Family in so many ways!  If you are interested in helping Extended Family or in bringing Extended Family programs into your community, please visit our website at www.extendedfamilyhelp.org, where we are participating in Giving Tuesday on November 28.  Together, we are changing lives, one child at a time.

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