What does family mean to you?

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Family is one of Be Strong Families core values, beginning with respect for and appreciation of others no matter how old, how young, where they come from, what they’ve experienced, where they are, how capable they are, how healthy they are, who they love. It extends to individual’s choices of who they call family – what intentional, meaningful relationships they form. Our value of family extends to community and to sisterhood and brotherhood. Although we are united by this value, family means something different to each of us. Hear from our Board of Directors what family means to them:

“My family is and has been supportive in helping me raise my children. They represent the foundation of who I have become in life. It was my aunt and uncle who drove me around looking at colleges as a high school student and encouraging me for higher education. My grandparents financed my college education. My family has always been there for me, in good times and not so good times. If it wasn’t for my mother, I am not sure where I would be today. Since I got divorced 12 years ago, my mother has helped me financially to stay in my home and meet the needs of my growing kids.”

- Nina Aliprandi (Board Chair), Director of Program Services, Maryville Academy

“Family for me represents the foundation of self, and a unity of acceptance, unconditional sacrifices, joy, support and love that is built on a continuum of resilience, and journey in humility from the past, current and future generations.”

- Sandy Baba, Ph.D., Education Researcher

“I feel family goes beyond bloodlines, last names or obligations. To me, the word ‘family’ includes all the people in our lives who commit to love and support us unconditionally. It is not a passive birthright but a choice, a discipline of kindness that helps us thrive both as individuals and as a society.”

- Fernando Barcelona, President / Creative Director, Barcelona and Friends

“Holding on as one

Roots rich with stories of life

Ancestrally linked”

- Denise Boston, Ph.D., Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, California Institute of Integral Studies

“Family, broadly and inclusively defined, is the foundation for individual and community health, well-being and prosperity.  Let’s join together to strengthen families, nurture positive relationships, and promote resilience and hope.”

- Anne Douglass, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director, Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation and Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts

 “For me family is so much more than just the people I am related to, my family also consists of a supportive and caring group of friends who I can laugh and cry with. Without the strength of community, I feel that I would not have as much hope to be the parent and person that I strive to be.”

- Kassia Eide (Board Secretary), SPARK Family Engagement Coordinator, Fox Valley United Way

“I look at family as those who care about you the most and want to see you grow and flourish. Helpfulness, respect, health, integrity and cooperation are my core values; my family understands my values and I understand their values. Through understanding of each other’s values, we arrive at a mutual respect and support. People with open hearts and a willingness to accept you for the human that you are. Even when things go wrong and crisis faces you, you can always depend on family. Family brings you back to your values and helps you make good decisions.”

- Kenneth Krantz, CFP® APMA®, Financial Advisor, Grezlik, Krantz, and Associates Ameriprise Financial

 “To me a family is whoever I can depend on for support, to laugh with, to play with, and to share the challenges and rewards of life with.”

- Beth Lakier, Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Commons

“Family means having someone to love you unconditionally in spite of you and your shortcomings. Family is loving and supporting one another even when it’s not easy to do so. It’s being the best person you could be so that you may inspire your love ones. Family doesn’t see color, race, creed not culture it sees heart. Family isn’t always about being connected biologically, because understands that other things and influences bind us. Family is unrelenting, it’s secure and reliable. Family isn’t just important, it’s what is most important!”

- Marvin Lazenbury, MHS, Associated Director of Housing, Bucks & Montgomery County Valley Youth House

 “I used to tell this to my kids when they were younger, ‘Our family is like Noah’s ark. The outside world may sometimes feel chaotic or harsh or overwhelming, like a flood. In our family, we want to create an ark for each other — where we’re safe and protected and feel a sense of belonging, loved, cared about, taken care of and protected.’ They got it and that’s the world our family is.”

- Naomi Mark, LCSW, Director of Educational Programs for the Office of Workforce Development at NYC’s Department of Social Services

 “My love for my family, my desire for them to be proud of me and my decisions, is my life’s compass. I hope to advance the organization’s mission through my time and judgment. I consider serving on this board as something of a civic duty, in addition to a challenging and enjoyable experience.”

- Scott Reinglass, JD (Board Treasurer), Assistant Managing Attorney, Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

 “Family always feels nearby. The closeness is never determined by distance or time. Frequent gatherings develop into mutual support. And occasional visits enrich lives with gratitude. Family is comfort; it is home. What is most important: I refuse to limit family to a group or place. I am passionate about strengthen all communities. I believe, the foundation is respect and commitment and creating cherished moments.”

- Antoinette Rice-White, Community Parent Leader, Foster Parent, and Child Care Provider

 “Building strong families is a self-preservation strategy for any rational and sane society. An enlightened society is one which supports all of its members in reaching their full potential as human beings. I believe we can become true architects of our destinies rather than mere captives of our fate, of our past. This liberating model allows for true freedom as each segment of society takes responsibility for itself and for our extended human family. It is a strengths-based and wellness model which leads to evolutionary growth, resilience, and development towards the higher reaches of human nature. It is a vision of hope, based on the most powerful force in all of nature: love.”

- Carl Totton, Psy.D., Professor of Psychology, Phillips Graduate University

 “We are family."

- Katthe Wolf, MA (President), Founding Partner, and CEO of Be Strong Families

Jessie SchrantzComment