Family Care Conference

October 6-7
An event designed to help parents and caregivers of children with serious illnesses learn from professionals, and from one another.

We believe in the healing power of community, especially during these unprecedented times. That’s why we have organized this two-day virtual conference, expressly designed to bring parents and caregivers of children with serious illnesses together with leading medical, mental health and wellness professionals.

By listening, sharing, and connecting through presentations, panels and workshops, together we will create a supportive, close-knit community to help us all learn from, and support, one another.
The benefits of attending the conference include:
  • Discover new ways to cope with stress related to caring for a chronically ill child and improve own health and well-being
  • Opportunity to meet, learn and share experiences with others who have had similar challenges caring for seriously ill children 
  • Access to new community resources
  • Gain sense of belonging and decrease feelings of isolation caregivers often experience

Register below to join our second annual virtual Family Care Conference. You can attend one, some, or all the events, all at no charge. Continuing Education Credits available upon request for those in attendance.

Featured Talks

Stories of Self-Care: A Prescription for Wellness

Manisha Leary, LMSW
Trauma Trained Psychotherapist
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine 

The Truth About Trauma: Finding Resilience 

Kristin Marzolf, LCSW, SEP
Trauma Specialist & Director
The Family Resilience Group, Arlington Heights, IL

 

A Conference Dedicated to Families of Children with Serious Health Conditions

Day 1

October 6, 2021

Day 2

October 7, 2021

Day 1 – Wednesday, October 6

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10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

Why taking time to care for caregivers is needed now more than ever

Conference Chairperson Mary Ann Fithian will provide an overview of what to expect during our conference and how you can connect with presenters and other attendees.

Mary Ann Fithian
Conference Chairperson, North Star Reach

 

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11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

KEYNOTE: Stories of Self-Care: A Prescription for Wellness

A look into the life of a caregiver

Hear three caregivers tell their personal stories of how self care has impacted their ability to care for themselves as well as their familes. With commentary from Manisha Leary, a trained trauma therapist, you”ll learn how to implement these strategies into your own journey.

Manisha Leary, LMSW
Trauma Trained Psychotherapist,
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Bridget Schank
Caregiver

Charlotte Matthews
Caregiver

Kathy Prout
Caregiver

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12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Break

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1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Session: A

Powerful Prayer for Self Care 

Exploring approaches to prayer

Learn about approaches to prayer especially when facing major life events with pastor Vicky Lovell.  

Rev. Victoria Lovell, BA, MEd, MDiv
Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor & Angel Whispers Ministry

Tools to Take Your Relationship From Surviving to Thriving

How to keep relationships active when you need them most

Providing care for your child is often something you do invisibly. Your friends, family, and community are often unaware of the everyday demands of caregiving. That can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness. These feelings have a direct impact on the relationships you are in. In this session, experienced relationship counselors Karin and Dennis McNicholas will discuss strategies for keeping friendships and relationships active when you need them most.

Karin G. McNicholas, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Psychologist,
Chicago, IL

Dennis J McNicholas, ESQ.
Family Mediator,
Chicago, IL

 

Sibling Support

A dicussion about the sometimes forgotten sibling

Siblings are often just as impacted by the illness as the child who is sick. This session focuses on what to expect and how to be sure you are able to support the sibling though the illness. 

Mary Ann Fithian
Conference Chairperson,
North Star Reach

Will Falzon
Sibling

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2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Breakout Session: B

EFT for Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Tapping your way to less stress

EFT Tapping is a holistic healing approach that is able to reduce stress a great deal. In this session learn EFT tapping from experienced practitioner Danielle Groth to help you reduce stress and anxiety in your life.

Danielle Groth
EFT Practitioner and Meditation Facilitator
I Am Well, LLC

Where to Find Support

How to be a strong and effective advocate for your child and yourself

Shavonn Burgess is a parent of a child with sickle cell and founder of Kennedy’s Village, Inc. She will teach strategies around advocacy and finding support for famlilies caring for a child with a chronic illness.

Shavonn Burgess
Co-Founder/CEO,
Kennedy’s Village, Inc

Nourishment for the Caregiver

How to make lasting, healthy changes

Katie Farrell, a nurse and founder of Dashing Dish, teaches how to find a balance between spiritual and physical health. In this session, Katie will demonstrate how to make some of her most delicious (and nourishing) recipes.

Katie Farrell, RN
Founder
Dashing Dish

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3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon Break

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3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

PANEL: Personalized Healthcare: How to Advocate for Your Child

Practical suggestions to help you plan, guide and advocate for your child

This session will feature the perspectives of professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping children with serious health challenges. Panel will be moderated by North Star Reach’s Director of Camping Patrick Smith, MA.

Matthew Denenberg, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Russ Derry, MPH
Director of Education,
Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan

Rebecca Patrias, MD
Medical Director,
North Star Reach

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4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Memorable moments and what's next tomorrow

We’ll take a few minutes to reflect on the day’s themes and meaningful conversations.

Mary Ann Fithian
Conference Chairperson,
North Star Reach

Day 2 – Thursday, October 7

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10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

Caring for Our Community

A look at how we define the act of caring and how we extend that caring beyond our families to meaningful communities.

Mary Ann Fithian
Conference Chairperson, North Star Reach

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11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

KEYNOTE: The Truth About Trauma: Finding Resilience

What is resilience and how to cultivate it.

Led by licensed clinical social worker Kristen Marzolf, this session will look at innovative strategies for caregivers to manage stress so that they can better care for themselves and their families.

Kristen Marzolf, LCSW, SEP 
Trauma Specialist & Director,
The Family Resilience Grp, Arlington Heights, IL

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12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Break

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1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Session: C

Yoga for Relaxation

A session for beginners

Caring for a child with medical needs can be overwhelming and isolating. It leaves us exhausted, anxious, and even depressed. It leaves us unable to give the kind of care we want to, unable to give the care we need to. In this beginner session we will learn about relaxation through Yoga. This will include 12-pose sequence that is specifically designed to provide caregivers with resilience.

 

Aubrey Schupbach
Founder,
Zion Well Yoga + Meditation Studio

Recharging Your Spiritual Self

Lessons for embracing your spirituality

Led by pastor Vicky Lovell, this session will ask you to reflect on your spiritual self and offer suggestions for deepening your relationship with that part off yourself. 

This program contains strong religious beliefs.

Rev. Victoria Lovell, BA, MEd, MDiv
Associate Pastor,
Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor

Grief & Reinvention

In Praise of Poetry

The author of the recently released collection of poetry, “When Our Fathers Return to Us as Birds,” shares his poems and talks about how he reframed how he told stories when he was caring for his dying father. “I had to tell the truth,” Markus says, “and poetry was the way to do it.”

Peter Markus
Poet, Novelist and Teacher,
InsideOut Literary Arts in Detroit

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2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Breakout Session: D

Life Notes: Writing as Daily Reflection

Surprising findings from the blank page

Beauty, wonder and mystery are all around us but sometimes can be hard to see in our everyday lives. Gather a pen or pencil and some paper before you join us on Zoom and together we’ll practice ways to access the extraordinary inside each one of us.

Ami Walsh, MFA
Story Studio Director,
North Star Reach

Communication During Crisis

Tips and tactics for effective communication

In this session get working models for communication improvement. Effective communication during crisis situations is essential, learning these tatics can improve how you deal with crisis.

 

Karin G. McNicholas, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Psychologist,
Chicago, IL

Dennis J McNicholas, ESQ.

Family Mediator,
Chicago, IL

 

 

Epilepsy Open Forum

A community conversation

This session is dedicated to families caring for a child with an epilepsy diagnosis. Meet other parents. educators, and physicians and participate in our community conversation to ask questions, share resources, and build support for parents and caregivers.

Presented by the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, including featured speakers:

Louis Dang, MD
Pediatric Epileptologist,
Pediatric Neurology, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Nicole Fitzpatrick
Parent of a child with epilepsy

Russ Derry, MPH
Director Education,
Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan

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3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon Break

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3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

PANEL: Parents’ Guide to Coping

A conversation with counselors and parents

This panel is a conversation on coping with being a caregiver., from diagnosis to transitioning your child’s care to adulthood.

Panelists to be announced

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4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Moving forward with care

Closing thoughts, take aways and gratitude.

Mary Ann Fithian
Conference Chairperson,
North Star Reach

Registration

2021 Family Care Conference
This conference is free and open to the public. However, registration is required.
Complete the registration form below to attend all or any of the conference events.

Participant Information

Affiliation

Conference Participant Waiver

I understand that North Star Reach may make audio/visual recordings of the virtual Family Care Conference (Oct. 6 & 7, 2021). I give North Star Reach and its affiliated entities (including SeriousFunChildren’s Network, Inc.), permission to use conference photographs and audio/video recordings to promote public understanding and support for children with serious illnesses and for other media, promotional and/or advertising purposes. Note: All sessions will be recorded; however, attendees will have the option of turning off their video camera during interactive sessions. *
In the interest of respecting participants’ privacy, I agree not to take screenshots or to record in any manner presentations, breakout rooms, social mixers, chats or other conference activities. *

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North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Camp Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

Stay Connected

North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Camp Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169

Stay Connected

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

Contact and Subscribe (Desktop)
Inquiry Options *
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North Star Reach is a platinum-level
GuideStar participant

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Photo Credit: Leisa Thompson Photography