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December 2018 Newsletter 
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Photo of a young boy hugging Santa Clause
Photo from our Holiday Party at the Portland Children's Museum. 
illustration of garland

Dear friends, 
 
Today, FACT Oregon needs your help more than ever. This fall, we broke back-to-back records in support requests from families. Families connected with our Family Resource Specialists (parents themselves) with questions about special education, behavior, bullying, transition, accessing disability services, and more. We have traveled across Oregon to share our most in-demand workshops and connect with families where they live, work and play. Just a week ago, we welcomed 50 parents, caregivers, and community partners at a day-long conference at the coast while also hosting 450 excited kids and their families at the Portland Children’s Museum for a holiday party with Pyxis the Unicorn and Santa! We’re gearing up for the 3rd annual All Ability Tri4Youth, a barrier-free triathlon, and we continue to share your stories and hopes with policymakers and community leaders. Our work is indeed changing the face of disability, but we need your help to do more!
 
Our blog this month highlights three FACT Oregon families who are championing the change they want to see in their local communities. Today, I ask you to join with FACT Oregon to empower more families to be part of that change. Help us answer that phone call, send a family a tool or resource, or talk to a parent in their primary language. Your end-of-year, tax-deductible gift will give the gift of hope, high expectations, and community to families from Clatskanie to Burns, from Portland to Ashland. 
 
However you celebrate the holidays and bring in the New Year, from of all of us here at FACT Oregon, we hope it is full of the change you want to see. It can be, if you join us.


Roberta Dunn, FACT Oregon Executive Director

DONATE TODAY!

Upcoming Trainings & Events

Trainings and Events  

December 15, 2018 Santa at the Coast (Manzanita/Tillamook)

January 9, 2019 Special Education: What You Need to Know / Educación Especial: ¿Qué Necesita Saber? (Oregon City)

January 10, 2019 Behaviors at School: Supports, Strategies, Success!/ ¡Comportamientos en la Escuela: apoyos, estrat (Medford)

January 10, 2019 Behaviors at School: Supports, Strategies, Success!/ ¡Comportamientos en la Escuela: apoyos, estrat (Newberg)

January 26, 2019 Ready, Set, Go! Transitioning to Kindergarten/¡En sus Marcas, Listos, Fuera! La Transición al Kinder (Eugene)

  All Day Regional Conferences 

Join us for full day conferences to learn about a variety of topics from transition to kindergarten, to transition to adulthood, assistive technology, behavior, dispute resolution, planning for the future, and more! Registration is FREE for parents/caregivers of children/youth with disabilities and lunch will be provided.

January 12, 2019 East Metro

February 2, 2019 Mid Valley

March 2, 2019 West Metro

Champion the Change

By Roberta Dunn

We’ve all likely heard the saying “Be the change you want to see in the world.” They are lofty words often associated with agents of change such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated their lives to being the change they wanted to see in the world. Stretched thin already, we might be inclined to think we have nothing to offer- that we have no game, no tiger in the tank, maybe no vision for how we can contribute to change. 
 
Let’s agree that “being the change we want to see in the world” is going to be unique and personal for each of us…and that being that change, like the proverb, “can be a journey that begins with a single step.” I shared a cup of coffee with a gentleman I cross paths with regularly as I walk to work. That’s it. No bells, no whistles. A single step. As we prepare for 2019 I encourage you to identify how you can be the change you want to see in the world and take action. One easy way for you to champion the change you want to see is to make an end-of-year gift to FACT Oregon. Give the gift of hope, high expectations, and community to families who experience disability across the state. 
 
Here are three stories of FACT families who are creating change in their communities and in turn, building more inclusive, welcoming spaces for all.

The Holiday Party was a Smash!

Our Annual Holiday Party was a huge success- we had 459 people attend! We want to give a HUGE thank you to the Portland Children’s Museum for co-hosting, Abbey Steinbrink for taking incredible photos, Mr. & Mrs. Clause and Pyxis the Unicorn for the meet and greets, and all of YOU for helping us celebrate the holidays! (We will be emailing the photo link out this week to families who attended the event).
Image of santa with a young girl and her service dog
image of two young boys sitting with Santa.
image of young girl petting Pyxis the unicorn.
Image of a family smiling at the camera.
Image of two young children petting Pyxis the unicorn and smiling.
Image of two young boys smiling with Santa

Need Support?
Contact FACT Oregon

What to Expect Step 1 Call the FACT Oregon office at (503) 786-6082 or 1(888) 988-3228 or email us at support@factoregon.org  Step 2 A FACT Oregon staff member will ask the general reason of your call and take your contact information  Step 3 You will be contacted within 24-48 hours by a FACT Oregon Family Resource Specialist  Step 4 The family Resource Specialist will listen to you and provide information, resources, and next steps specific to your needs.  Any of our Family Resource Specialists can provide support, regardless of your location across Oregon. They are all parents of children who experience disability and have the best information and resources available.

For Families By Families: Meet FACT

Eli Ettinger, Office Assistant 

Photo of Eli and his parents, two brothers and his sister smiling at the camera.
"I work at FACT Oregon because everything my parents needed to learn to help raise me, a person with a life long disability, they learned from parent training. As someone with a disability I bring a unique perspective and the desire and ability to help other families. I have geared my education to this end. I am a board certified human services practitioner with expertise in disabilities and a passion for preserving and promoting the rights and interests of individuals and families experiencing disability. I am particularly interested in equity and diversity, adolescent transition, promotion of self-advocacy, and leadership development. I have experience with individual and corporate consultation and training around ADA issues, disability awareness training, community outreach and engagement. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Family and Human Services and Master's degree in Special Education both through the University of Oregon College of Education."
Molly Williamson, Family Resource Specialist 
Photo of Molly with her husband, three sons, and grandmother.
"My journey with FACT Oregon started just over four years ago. But my journey with advocacy and educating myself and those around me about disability started nearly 17 years ago when my oldest son was born. At 10 days old he was “officially” diagnosed with Down Syndrome. 
 
Like any new parent you want to research and figure out the “best way” to parent your new little person. So I read and I read and I read (the internet still wasn’t super prevalent, or maybe it was, but I wasn’t to keen on it yet) But the more I read, the more I realized that my new little bundle was more like every other little baby than he was different. And the more I got to know this little person I wondered “why is he so different?” 
 
It wasn’t until Carter was nearly 5 that I met a mentor that put into words everything that I was feeling. The knowledge that disability is a natural part of the human experience, we are all more alike than we are different, having high expectations, presuming competence, and dreaming big dreams!! I had found my passion!! My people! Those that were blazing a trail ahead of me! It was then that my research turned to true advocacy and universal thoughts of inclusivity. I realized that I had found my passion and mission; to educate, to inform, to share anything and everything I could, to help others understand that everyone is entitled to a beautifully, ordinary life! It took me awhile to get to FACT, to get to a place where my passion became my career. But now that I am here with my people helping families, growing families, and supporting families in their pursuit of a whole life, I do not want to go anywhere else! 

Volunteer with FACT Oregon!

Image of three volunteers standing behind a desk smiling.
FACT Oregon is currently looking for volunteers! We need people to help assist the trainer at our parent trainings, join our FACT Oregon table at resource fairs, and/or volunteer at our big events. If you are interested, sign up here or contact volunteer@factoregon.org
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