Mighty Blog

Family Advisory Council seeking applicants

Our Families as Partners program promotes, coordinates and supports family involvement throughout Children’s Minnesota through several pathways, including the Family Advisory Council (FAC). The FAC is a diverse group of families whose children, or grandchildren, have received care at Children’s Minnesota clinics or hospitals. As a member of the council, you have the opportunity to share your experiences and diverse points of view to advocate for children and their families at Children’s Minnesota and in the community.

Applications are being accepted for a three-year term on our Family Advisory Council!

Family Advisory Council members share their stories

Family Advisory Council members Shelby, Raphael, Jamie and Shana share a little about their experience on the Family Advisory Council and why it’s a great opportunity for other families.

Shelby

Member since 2017

Why did you join the Family Advisory Council?

I wanted to be part of the Family Advisory Council to help advocate on behalf of all families. It took me some tough hospitalizations to learn how to do that for myself. Once I felt comfortable, I felt that I could do a great job of doing so for others as well.

What do you do with the Family Advisory Council?

The Family Advisory Council is made up of diverse families and staff liaisons that focus on improving the hospital for all families. My favorite meeting is when Dr. Gorelick joins us to answer our questions, his presence is always welcoming!

What would you say to families who are thinking about applying to be involved in the council?

Being a part of the Family Advisory Council is one of my greatest joys. I leave meetings feeling a sense of purpose. I love the time spent with other families working for a greater good.

Shelby's family

Do you have a favorite volunteer experience with the council?

I love when smaller committees are formed from our large group and we are able to spend more time focusing on topics we are truly passionate about. I find those break outs extremely rewarding and impactful to the hospital at large.

Is there anything more you would like to share about your experience on the council?

What we do for others is one of the most rewarding parts of life. What better way to experience that feeling, than for the children who need us the most.

Raphael

Member since 2020

Why did you join the Family Advisory Council?

I joined the Family Advisory Council because I wanted to be a voice for the parents that have been or are currently going through NICU/PICU life. I also wanted to be a part of helping grow and improve Children’s Minnesota as best as we can.

What do you do with the Family Advisory Council?

I help wherever I can in the Family Advisory Council. I am also a part of Families as Partners and the Safety and Security Committee.

What would you say to families who are thinking about applying to be involved in the council?

I would say that if you have a voice and you feel or want to make an impact to go for it.

Raphael's family

Do you have a favorite volunteer experience with the council?

All of the in-person meetings with Families as Partners because I love being around the other parents I work with. But my favorite would have to be the meeting with the CEO and Executive board where my wife and I spoke about our experience in the NICU.

Is there anything more you would like to share about your experience on the council?

Just that I enjoy being on the council and Tessa has been AWESOME!!! Our leaders in Families as Partners make sure we get it done and they take care of us.

Jamie

Member since 2020

Why did you join the Family Advisory Council?

I wanted to give back to Children’s Minnesota by joining the Family Advisory Council. I greatly appreciated the care that has been provided to my daughter. However, there is always room for improvement. It seemed like a productive way to advocate for our daughter’s medical care. We rely heavily on Children’s Minnesota for their superb care. I wanted to be a voice of other families who are walking a similar journey and utilize Children’s Minnesota to help improve different aspects of their facilities.

What do you do with the Family Advisory Council?

We meet as a group once a month with several other selected families. We are given an agenda and topics for discussion related to Children’s Minnesota. I feel like voices are really heard. Our opinions are valued, respected and appreciated.

Jamie

What would you say to families who are thinking about applying to be involved in the council?

It has been a great opportunity. I would encourage anyone who has an appreciation to advocate for their child to consider joining.

Do you have a favorite volunteer experience with the council?

Hearing all the other families’ personal stories and listening to their different perspectives.

Is there anything more you would like to share about your experience on the council?

I have learned a ton about the workings of hospitals and clinics. It has been so helpful to understand why some things are done certain ways.

Shana

Member since 2021

Why did you join the Family Advisory Council?

Having my youngest child born with significant special needs, I am frequently in and out of the hospital and we have many appointments with different specialists. I have had to learn to become an advocate for my son and for my family. Learning a special needs system is hard and there are way too many pathways, but I realized that Children’s Minnesota can help with those pathways and educate you along the way. There are a lot of spaces that could be better and I believe the families who experience this life can best help with that.

shana2.jpg

What do you do with the Family Advisory Council?

I am fairly new to FAC but I have been able to give my input on many different aspects a family may have to encounter, such as documents they may be asked to fill out or what it is like to walk into the hospital and the safety families feel. We have been able to speak with staff and key players at Children’s Minnesota to see how we were impacted as a family with the current policies in place and what they could do to improve the systems in place.

What would you say to families thinking about applying for the council?

I would say note the things that you see when bringing your child to appointments or having time inpatient that you think work well, or you think could use improvement…this is your space. This is your chance to have a voice for you, your child and your family.

Do you have a favorite volunteer experience with the council?

Yes. I was asked to be on a panel to talk about improvements that Children’s Minnesota could make and my own personal experience. I felt heard and I felt like there was a safe space to speak about an experience that was not the best and how Children’s Minnesota could improve their policies or practices.

This council has been so life changing for my confidence as a special needs mother. I had no idea what was in store for me when my son was born. He is now 16, taller than me. He is quadriplegic and nonverbal. I have so many specialists that are involved and making my family’s life easier is something that Children’s Minnesota can help me out with and I can lend my voice of lived experience.

Kaitlyn Kamleiter