API Speaks’ Carnival of Presence!

Happy Attachment Parenting Month! API Speaks has dedicated the month to Giving Our Children Presence and one way we’re going to do that is with the first in a series of monthly AP Carnivals.

To participate in the carnival, submit a post on how you give your children your presence to our Blog Carnival registry by Wednesday, October 15, at 2pm Mtn, and we’ll link to your post on Monday, October 20.

There will be prizes for those who participate as well as those who spread the word (even if you don’t have a blog, you can submit a short post in the comments section), so check back often. Besides, you don’t want to miss some of our fabulous guest posters who will be sprinkled throughout the month.

The Attachment Parenting International Forums

As part of the Attachment Parenting International site redesign that was launched earlier this year, a new forum section was also created. I volunteer as the forum administrator and wanted to dedicate my API Speaks entry this month to introducing you to the API Forums. For those that have visited before, maybe you’ll learn something new. For those that haven’t, I invite you to join us in the lively discussion on the official API Forums.

Forum Statistics
The forums were launched at the beginning of April and in the few short months that we’ve been live, over 700 people have registered and created almost 2,000 threads with nearly 12,000 posts. Many new forum members have found their way to our site from Google and others from their local support groups.

Age-specific Forums
In addition to the general discussion area, the API Forums also have forums dedicated to practicing the Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting with children of a variety of ages. Whether you are just now planning to start a family or are watching your young adult child go out and start a new life, the API Forums have an area dedicated to these discussions.

Circumstance-specific Forums
API understands that there are certain parenting situations which offer unique challenges and joys when it comes to practicing API’s Principles. In order to meet the needs of API members in different situations, API has created an adoption forum, a forum dedicated to divorce and custody, an area to discuss parenting multiples and a section on parenting the special needs child.

API Reads
Book clubs are popular worldwide and API is joining the book club craze with the API Reads forum. Forum members can participate in lively discussion with a new book being discussed every other month. In addition to the discussions with other forum members, some authors have signed on to facilitate a premium forum discussion of their book. August and September 2008 will focus on Jan Hunt’s book, The Natural Child. For a complete list of future books, visit the API Reads Book of the Month Reading Schedule.

API Around the World
API is truly an international organization with forums dedicated to geographic regions within the United States as well as around the world. Connect with other families in your area through the API Around the World forums.

If you’re new to the forum setup, don’t forget to check out the API Forum Frequently Asked Questions page for easy-to-follow directions on getting started. I look forward to “seeing” you on the API Forums!

Volunteer Spotlight

In It takes a village, Half Pint Pixie wrote, “I began to realise that a village doesn’t have to be a physical location.” This sentence fits with API on so many levels!

Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit supported by memberships, donations, and volunteers. API accomplishes a great deal with efficiency-incurring only minimal expenses by employing a small staff, engaging a large devoted volunteer base, and managing the organization in a virtual office environment. This organizational model enables API to have global impact while getting the most out of every dollar.

Each of our staff members and volunteers, located across the United States as well as in Canada and Europe, contributes greatly to the supportive village that we offer at API and we couldn’t do it without any of them. It is with this in mind that I’d like to introduce our monthly Volunteer Spotlight of an existing volunteer and Volunteer Highlight one of our many available volunteer positions.

Volunteer Spotlight – Meet Melissa

melissa-h-avatar.jpegMelissa writes, “I have been a resource leader for two years and wanted to be more active with API. When Brandy mentioned that the forum was in need of moderators and an administrator, I knew I’d found my way to give back. Having about six years of forum administration and moderation experience, this position was perfect for me. I decided to go with the administrator position and thus began a month of furious activity on my part, along with the help of everyone else from API HQ as the new Web site was being launched.

“I absolutely love being the forum administrator. Not only do I have a feeling of personal reward for having learned so much about our forum program in a short time, but I get to work one-on-one with API leaders and members from around the world. I love the way the forum has given me, and API members everywhere, the ability to connect on a daily basis. I know that the new forum and Web site is just the start of an exciting new chapter for API and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Volunteer Highlight – Events Team Members

API Events Team Members will work with a staff project manager and additional team members to organize various events that bring awareness and publicity to API. Examples of these events range from API Parent Educator Training Sessions, member conferences, a Children’s Day celebration, etc. Tasks vary greatly and time commitments are flexible.

If you believe in the value of our mission to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful, and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world, please review the Volunteer page for more information on the various volunteer positions that our organization currently has available. Please know that this list is not comprehensive. If you have talents and experience that you feel would further our mission, please email Brandy AT attachmentparenting DOT org so that we can chat about the possibilities!

– Brandy Lace, API Office Manager

Welcome to API Speaks!

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It has been an exciting month for Attachment Parenting International. At the beginning of the month, we launched our Parent Education Program (PEP). PEP dramatically expands the AP resources available to parents by establishing trained experts in communities where parents who need support can easily access them. We also launched our forums, providing real-world support, opportunities to interact with both experts and other AP parents, and age- and topic-specific areas where parents can go to get answers on everything from breastfeeding to help with baby-carriers, to using gentle discipline with teenagers.

And today we present API’s official blog, API Speaks, to the world. Posts on this blog will come from both within API and from beyond API’s borders, with blogging mavens you may well recognize submitting posts on a variety of AP-relevant topics.

Like so many of API’s other offerings in the realm of education, research, and support, API Speaks is volunteer-operated and provided as a free service to the AP community. Our mission is to capture the real stories of life as an AP family and to highlight the fact that, despite all the varied family structures, cultures, religions, and dynamics that exist in the world, there is one thing that unites us: Our love and compassion for our children.

I had the good fortune to speak with co-founders Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker about their grass-roots effort to spread the word about Attachment Parenting. What we kept coming back to is that API’s goal is nothing short of a massive cultural shift away from what Barbara called a “punishing culture” and toward compassion.

Lysa reminded us that while “…you can’t change generations of behaviors in one generation, but you can begin the change…That’s why Giving the Love that Heals by Harville Hendrix is so important. You’ve got to raise your consciousness so that you’re more conscious with your children.”

These amazing women, who began as friends who met during a La Leche League meeting and went on to found API fourteen years ago, release their book on Attachment Parenting later this summer. “The important message of our book is the title: Attached at the Heart,” Barbara said. “We want people to trust their heart when all else fails. When it’s the middle of the night and the baby’s crying, and the pediatrician and the mother-in-law have both said to let the baby cry, we want parents to trust their instincts. Instead of worrying “Is my baby going to be messed up if I hold her for 15 more minutes?” we want them to trust their heart. Mothers wouldn’t be in a cold sweat or crying when their children were hurting if they didn’t really instinctually know to always default to the most loving connected thing to do.”

It is our honor and privilege to continue their good work through API Speaks. Won’t you join us?

Julie Artz & Amy Gates
Contributing Editors, API Speaks

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