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Winter’s Drafts Make Them Daft

Winter’s Drafts Make Them Daft

By J. Shane Mercer The weather in this part of the country is fantastic for the three months of the year when there isn’t snow on the ground. Still, that leaves about eight or nine months when the outdoors is less than inviting and getting kids outside is a challenge. As far as I’ve been […]

Why It’s “In” to Be a Geek

Why It’s “In” to Be a Geek

By Gwen Rockwood I am a geek. Always have been. But now it’s easy—and almost cool—to admit it. Twenty-five years ago? Not so much. Back then, my glasses, braces, and clarinet carrying case were all social life liabilities. In the ‘80s, if you aced a few spelling tests or a teacher praised you for being […]

When Communities Care

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center A while back, there was a story on the evening news about a local cop who came across a young man—a third grader, maybe—who had a passion for playing basketball but couldn’t “make the team.” He actually couldn’t even try out for the team. He couldn’t […]

The Wow Factor

The Wow Factor

Human beings have a remarkable capacity to grow unappreciative, to take the incredible and make it mundane. Comedian Louis C.K. was on the late-night TV show, “Conan,” a few years back ranting about the whininess of the current generation, even as we live in an age of remarkable technological advancement. He mimicked people complaining of […]

Letter to My Younger Self

Letter to My Younger Self

A wonderful thing is happening at our house. The kids are becoming…capable. That sounds weird, I know. It’s not like they were helpless blobs all this time, but lately I’ve noticed they can really do things—helpful things, necessary things—things my husband and I have been doing for them for more than a decade now. Today […]

Make an Investment in North Dakota Families

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center First let me state that I am a longstanding conservative who happens to work in a very liberal profession. I have been criticized loudly from both staff and community members periodically for my views and positions stated in this editorial space. I’m fine with that—after all, […]

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

You don’t have to be an adult very long before you realize it stinks. There are mortgage payments and social norms and leaky pipes and dress slacks. The list of constraining, fun-squashing, grown-up things is endless. As a dad, it’s hard not to be a little jealous of my kids. They’re free of all that […]

I Can Explain...

I Can Explain…

Early this morning, I opened my eyes and saw 7-year-old Jack’s eyes looking right at me, just inches from my face. “Mom,” he whispered. “I need to tell you something.” “What is it, Jack?” I groaned sleepily. “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night,” he said. “My tooth is still there under the pillow and […]

Behavioral Health in North Dakota

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center In January of this year, the North Dakota Legislature hired Schulte Consulting to examine North Dakota’s behavioral health system. Concurrently, a North Dakota Behavioral Health stakeholder’s group was convened to make sure everyone was at the table. Representing the nonprofit sector, The Village is honored to […]

Pint-sized Demolition Crew

Pint-sized Demolition Crew

Tweet Brands like Gerber and Pampers like to show you pictures of sleeping babies taken with soft filters so they look all sweet and cuddly. Have you seen those Carter’s children’s clothing promo photos with all of those happy, contented, clean children? Well, that’s all a whole lot of hooey aimed at selling stuff. The […]

Wish I was Making This Up

Wish I was Making This Up

My favorite humor writer, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry, is famous for the line “I am not making this up.” He uses it when writing about things that are so absurd any sane person would assume he’s taking creative liberties with his description when, in fact, the description happens to be ridiculous AND true. I […]

Keeping an Eye Upstream

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center Four villagers working along a river bank see children floating by and out of sight. The first villager works frantically to pull out as many as he can. The second villager decides the best approach is to teach the children to swim. The third villager rallies […]

The Lizard Who Ate Orlando

The Lizard Who Ate Orlando

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your work is get away from it. A week’s vacation did the trick; even though I’m up to my neck in laundry and an overflowing email inbox, I’m refreshed and happy to be back at my computer. I was reminded of a trip we took a few […]

A Decade of Fatherly Wisdom

A Decade of Fatherly Wisdom

Marriage was a big life change. But I think fatherhood was even bigger. For the first time, I (along with my wife) was totally responsible for every aspect of the well-being of someone who wasn’t me. I’ve been a dad for almost 10 years now. Fatherhood has changed me, and I’ve learned a lot. For […]

Notes From the Children’s Summit

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center We recently held a Village Children’s Summit in an effort to review the services we provide to children and families, and to ensure we remain on the cutting-edge of current family treatment methods. We gathered all Village staff who either work directly with families, or provide […]

Three Decades of Opportunity

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center From time to time the question of my tenure at The Village comes up, particularly since I passed the 30-year mark in August 2013. It’s a good question, as I suppose it’s not common to find someone who stays with an organization that long. As I […]

Mentoring Works

The Village’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program stretches back over 40 years and is a program of which I am immensely proud. A few months ago, I received a report on a large scale evaluation assessing the impact of mentoring—which provides further evidence that Big Brothers Big Sisters is changing the lives of kids in […]

Confessions of a Quitter

Confessions of a Quitter

Over the years, my mother let me quit a few things. After several failed attempts at sewing lessons, she accepted that the one and only thing I ever produced was a bath towel wrap with a piece of Velcro sloppily stitched to it. And after a lot of whiny persuasion, she also let me quit […]

Ellie’s Story

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center I’m passing on the true and accurate story about a young girl who, for reasons of confidentiality, we’ll call Ellie. Please take a moment to read about Ellie’s incredible journey through challenges that are difficult for most of us to comprehend. Ellie is a beautiful, talented, […]

Recognition and Thanks

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. A day set aside by a grateful nation to pay homage to the millions who defended our country, its freedom, its way of life, and who have done their part at ensuring the next generation […]