Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Overdue Update

So much is happening and I haven't posted on here in like 6 months! I need to do better at posting on my family advocacy activities on here.

In summary, I am currently working as the Director of Programs for the Ruth Institute, whose mission is to create a positive intellectual and social climate for marriage among young adults. I basically plan academic and advocacy conferences on issues facing the institution of marriage, including pornography addiction, cohabitation, divorce, same-sex marriage, individualism, soul-mate mentality, and hook-up culture to name a few. I also innovate programs to help students and young adults become involved in the issue, and become more articulate at making the case for marriage in the public square. It is my dream job. Well, my dream job is to be a wife and mother. But professionally speaking, it's pretty great to be able to make a living doing what I'm passionate about.

Check out the program I've been helping to develop. This is my baby. The concept anyway. The design is...lacking. (That's what you get when you can't afford a professional!) But the Emerging Leaders Program is awesome. I'm really excited about the prospect of being able to help young adults and students on college campuses be able to develop their skills to more effectively articulate a case for marriage in the public square. We have a Emerging Leaders Speakers' Bureau to help young adults have the opportunity to share their knowledge about specialty areas and have practice at public speaking and presenting. We have a Social Science Fellowship, where students (mostly graduate or law students) review academic articles or legal research and write about the information for the non-academic types. We also are beginning a Student and Campus Fellowship, where we fund student groups and initiatives on campus, to bring experts in to speak about topics related to marriage.

If you want to keep up with my activity and programming through Emerging Leaders, sign up for our newsletter! We only send it out every 4-6 weeks (if we're lucky!) so don't worry about being spammed too much. :) We also have an awesome blog, and FB page.

It is so rewarding to work with young adults who are committed to strengthening the institutions of marriage and family in society. The most rewarding part of my job is watching those who attend our conferences or become involved in our program catch on fire with the message and desire to make a difference. They are the Change the World generation, and they are already making waves.

Another project I'm involved in is Students for the Family. This is a kind of pseudo-continuation of Stand for the Family, the student group that I was President of during my first graduate degree. It is a group of graduate students, law students, and young professionals that want to duplicate the symposium that was held March 2010 at BYU.

This year we are again planning a large conference in Provo, UT, Oct 28-29th at the Provo Marriott Conference Center and Hotel. It is entitled Strengthening the Family: Engaging the Issues with Courage and Civility. We have all our speakers in place, the Call for Papers is turning out well, we are selecting student papers and projects for presentation, publication and prizes, and miracles happen daily in the planing. Which is a good things since none of the 11 of us on the Executive Planning Committee have the time or resources to devote to pulling off something as ambitious as this. But it's happening. It's so exciting. I hope you'll come!

In other good news, I will finally be leaving my alma matter, after 3 consecutive degrees. I will be graduating in December with a masters of marriage and family studies, and an MPA in non-profit management. While I'm sad to leave my university days behind me, I'm really looking forward to stepping into the world of family advocacy full-time as an employee of the Ruth Institute, and continue to work with and build relationships with organizations that are working for the family. There are so many good people involved in this work and it's exciting to be part of it.

If you ever want to know how to get involved or help, feel free to give me a call. In the world of non-profit and advocacy, the work is almost always accomplished through the kindness of volunteers. And there's always good work to be done! I'd start by checking out www.studentsforthefamily.org and signing up to be a volunteer. We're looking for those who can donate 1-2 hours a week for the next 6 weeks to help us advertise our conference in Provo.

Also heading out to Texas at the end of the month for events at Southern Methodist University and Baylor, and then to Princeton University at the beginning of November. Catch me if you can!

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