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May 7 is National Child and Youth Mental Health Day in Canada and May 3-9 is Child Mental Health Awareness week for both Countries. This past year has been an incredibly hard year for our children. We have watched with deep sadness as the pandemic has meant significant restrictions for social engagement for our children. Children have been living in isolation, which has led to a rise in mental health challenges for them. While measures to manage the spread of the virus have been important, we cannot ignore that measure taken to eliminate one significant issue has had adverse mental health effects for our children.

As the year progresses and the vaccine roll out continues to allow states and provinces to return to a point where larger gatherings are possible, will this be enough to combat the mental health challenges kids have been facing? Is it as easy as going back to past routines of connection for our youth that will shift the pendulum back?

Let’s take the opportunity to check in with our kids, make sure they are ok. Have they been able to talk about and process all their feelings of the past year? Should they be connected to professional support as they begin to unravel all their feelings of living through a pandemic. This has been a very hard year for our youth. Make sure they feel cared for and supported.

—Becky Jones, Editor

Have you considered writing for Breaking Barriers?

Breaking Barriers newsletter has a print circulation of about 80,000 print copies per quarter plus over 2500 electronic subscriptions to Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America churches and many individuals. Here’s what we are planning for the next issue, and we’d love to have your contributions.

Fall 2021—Speech differences.
People living with speech differences, such as stuttering and cerebral palsy that affects speech, face various challenges such as avoidance of interacting with others, not being allowed to finish their thoughts, and even assumptions others make about their intelligence. If you live with a speech difference, please tell us a story or give us your advice in no more than 400 words. Send your submission by August 2, 2021.

Saying Goodbye to our friend and leader

Announcing Mark Stephenson’s Retirement

Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns and Interim Director for the Office of Social Justice and Race Relations has announced his plan to retire at the end of 2021. We are so thankful for the leadership and direction that Mark has provided for nearly 15 years for Disability Concerns and his willingness to lead the Offices of Social Justice and Race Relations during a uniquely challenging year due to the pandemic and significant unrest our countries are going through.

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Disability Concerns Canada October Series 2021

Save the Date!  Everybody Belongs, Serving Together: Launching the Newest Resource for Supporting People with Disabilities in Faith Communities

This year Disability Concerns Canada will once again host a series online that everyone is invited to join, whatever country you hail from. This will be a month-long series to launch our newest resource for supporting people with disabilities in the faith community: Everybody Belongs, Serving Together. We will meet Thursday evenings from 8pm-9pm Eastern. Registration details will be released soon! Stay tuned!.

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Conscience Rights for Physicians

On March 21 the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-7, and it has received Royal Assent. Euthanasia and assisted suicide will now be available to people who are not near death, and key safeguards have been removed. However, Canadians can still advocate to protect the conscience of healthcare workers when there are requests for assisted death.Learn more about the issue and how you can advocate!

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To all our Volunteers: Thank you!

A Big Thank You to our Volunteers

At the end of April we celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week. The Disability Concerns Ministry is so thankful for our community of volunteers. You are the ones that are making space for all people to be represented as a part of our vision for the church. You carry out the mandate of our ministry: Everybody Belongs. Everybody Serves.

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Follow us on Instagram!

Did you know we have joined Instagram?

Disability Concerns is excited to announce that we are now on Instagram! Our handle is @dis_ability_concerns. Like us and follow us on Instagram today!

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Thank You for Your Support!

Without monetary support for Disability Concerns, we wouldn’t be able to share these stories. To help us make sure that “everybody belongs, everybody serves,” would you please consider praying for us and making a financial contribution? It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a gracious and beautiful act of obedience.

You can donate to the ongoing work of Disability Concerns at the CRCNA here.

Donate via the CRCNA


You can donate to the ongoing work of Disability Concerns at the RCA here.

Donate via the RCA


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This mostly monthly e-newsletter is a ministry of Christian Reformed Church in North America and Reformed Church in America Disability Concerns ministries.

Christian Reformed Church in North America
1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508-1407
3475 Mainway, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8

Reformed Church of America
4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

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