‘Love you to the moon and back’

Mother-Son dance is Friday

Grab your mom, step-mom, aunt, grandma, or other special someone and join other mother-son combos for a night of making memories.

Building Families is holding a Mother-Son dance this Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Fuller Hall, to support the Parent Connection Program and Prevent Child Abuse Council.

Angela Wesselink, Parent Coordinator, said the idea for this dance came about because while father-daughter dances are common enough, she’d never heard of one for moms.

“I’m a mom of three boys,” Wesselink said. “I taught my boys how to dance in the kitchen, for when they had their first dances, and I thought it would be fun to do that with my boys.

“So we thought this would be a fun fundraiser.”

Light refreshments will be served, and a professional photographer will be on hand if families would like to buy photos. Randy Andrews will DJ the night.

Wesselink hopes the event will become an annual occurrence. It’s unusual character is important; in fundraising, as in a dance, it’s important to be considerate.

“I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes,” she said. “We didn’t want to double up on fundraisers that other people are doing, and I’d never heard of anyone anywhere around doing this idea. … So, we think this will be our fundraiser for the next few years, for the Parent Connection program.”

The dance is the same cost, no matter how many boys a mother may bring, she said.

“There’s no age limit for the dance. Mothers and sons of any age are encouraged to come,” she said.

Her program reaches out to Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties.

“We’re going to provide one all three of the counties that I serve,” Wesselink said. “We did one in Wright County in November, and that went really well.”

The dance is important because funding is a little tight for the Parent Connections Program this year.

“Our grant is smaller for the next two years, so we have to make up some funds so we can continue providing child abuse prevention services in our counties,” Wesselink said.

“Our goal is to raise happy healthy children, and build stronger families, and to prevent child abuse.”

One of Wesselink’s specialties is fighting child abuse, and she has a special passion for preventing sexual abuse.

This is much more common that people would like to think.

“We have high numbers in this area,” Wesselink said. “One in five little girls, and one in 10 little boys in Hamilton County will be sexually abused.

“Parents tell their kids about ‘stranger danger,’ but in 90 percent of cases it is a relative, or a trusted person in the child’s life.”

Wesselink educates parents on how to recognize dangers, or spot the warning signs that something may be happening.

“Everybody knows somebody who has been abused,” she said, “they just don’t know it.”

Aside from that, there are plenty of other things the program does to promote happy, healthy families.

“I teach free, voluntary short-term parenting classes,” Wesselink said. “I also have a support group of parents with children with disabilities. I do in-home and group-based parenting classes.”

These are open to anyone hoping to expand their parenting skills, she said.

” I also have a lot of resources for parents of children with autism or attention deficit.

“We’re a strength-based program. Every parent loves their babies, and they want the very best for their children. We work on the strengths of the family.”

Anyone looking for more information about the parenting program, or about the dance, can contact Wesselink at awesselink@co.wright.ia.us or (515)293-0652.

Learn more about resources for parents at www.buildingfamilies.net

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