Impact Feature Issue on Volunteerism by Persons with Developmental Disabilities
A Parent’s Experience
Evangeline Pryor and her husband live in Hardin, Montana, and have seven children. Evangeline first heard about the Hardin Parent Center through the local school and went there to get information on Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when her son was diagnosed with ADHD. She was given pamphlets and checked out books and videos. Most importantly, Janice, Ruth, and Davene, the paraeducators who staff the Hardin Parent Center, gave her encouragement and an invitation to participate in Parent Center activities.
Evangeline took four parenting classes through the Parent Center. She wanted to get as much information as possible so that when she encountered issues related to raising her children, including a child with a disability, she would have the skills in place to manage them. She says, “I utilized the Parent Center whenever I could to help myself and my family.”
On May 10, 2000 Evangeline received her Associate of Arts Degree in Human Services from Little Big Horn Community College. Her decision to pursue her education in human services was influenced by her experience with the Parent Center and the fact that she grew up in a single parent family. When she became interested in starting a Parent Support Group for parents of children with ADD/ADHD, Evangeline discussed it with Janice, Ruth, and Davene. They supported her idea and the first meeting was in October 2001. The group meets at the Parent Center and at least one of the Parent Center staff is there to lend a hand.
Contributed by Evangeline Pryor, parent of students in the Hardin Public Schools, and by Tina Hoagland, Director, Paraeducator Development Project, Montana Center on Disabilities, Montana State University-Billings.