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Don't take respite care away for military families with special needs children
The U.S. armed forces have an amazing program called the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The EMFP helps families with special needs children gain access to respite care professionals. The program has helped alleviate some of the stress and strain for parenting a special needs child by allowing parents to take time to clear their minds, recharge, and be the best parents they can be for their child. But this program is now under budgetary threat. Losing access to this program would force families into the financially difficult position of relying on civilian programs and providers. But the unique circumstances of military families make relying on civilian programs and support providers that much more precarious. Sometimes, military families are living on bases in rural areas where it is difficult to find service providers for our special needs children. Additionally, military families often rotate from base to base every 3 to 5 years -- forcing a family to essentially “start-over” with each new assignment. I don’t say this to complain. This is what we sign up for and we are proud to serve our country. But our families need the support this military program provides. Budget cuts have slowly eroded the program’s availability across the armed forces for all but the most severely disabled children. And now these budget cuts are due to hit Army families in June 2017 -- despite that fact the the Army has the largest number of families with children on the autism spectrum. We are begging Congress to please not balance the budget on the backs of the families who need this respite care program the most. Please sign and share this petition. It’s important to let Congress know that military families need all the support they can get -- and military families with special needs children require this support so much more!
Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline
I’m 13 years-old and as an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I’ve lived my whole life by the Missouri River. It runs by my home in Fort Yates North Dakota and my great grandparents original home was along the Missouri River in Cannon Ball. The river is a crucial part of our lives here on the Standing Rock Reservation. But now a private oil company wants to build a pipeline that would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation and if we don’t stop it, it will poison our river and threaten the health of my community when it leaks. My friends and I have played in the river since we were little; my great grandparents raised chickens and horses along it. When the pipeline leaks, it will wipe out plants and animals, ruin our drinking water, and poison the center of community life for the Standing Rock Sioux. In Dakota/Lakota we say “mni Wiconi.” Water is life. Native American people know that water is the first medicine not just for us, but for all human beings living on this earth. The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day, across four states. Oil companies keep telling us that this is perfectly safe, but we’ve learned that that’s a lie: from 2012-2013 alone, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in the state of North Dakota. With such a high chance that this pipeline will leak, I can only guess that the oil industry keeps pushing for it because they don’t care about our health and safety. It’s like they think our lives are more expendable than others’. So we, the Standing Rock Youth, are taking a stand to be the voice for our community, for our great grandparents, and for Mother Earth. Join us, and sign to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sincerely, Anna and the Standing Rock Youth Learn more about our campaign at rezpectourwater.com.