It's an unusual book signing scheduled in Grand Forks today, a book signing by authors who didn't know they were authors until a few weeks ago.
Earlier this year, advocates for survivors of child sexual abuse in North Dakota invited those survivors to write about the abuse and how they've dealt with it. Or write about anything in your life, they said. It's your life.
Many survivors took up the challenge and wrote poems, short stories or declarations, and these have been collected in a booklet called "Authentic Voices," which was published this week by Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.
Two book signings are planned in Grand Forks Wednesday, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the UND Bookstore, and from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Grand Forks Public Library.
The booklets are free while supplies last.
"These are people who are very willing to share their stories so nobody else has to go through what they went through," said Karen Van Fossan, who organized the project for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.
"I've been more moved than I imagined I would be," she said in late May, when she discussed the project and urged more survivors to contribute. "There is a real generosity in the people who've shared their writings."
The voices project "is a great opportunity to raise awareness in our communities that child abuse and neglect is happening," added Tim Hathaway, state executive director of Prevent Child Abuse. "It's happening here in North Dakota. It's happening to people we live and work with."
The project "also gives people a chance to express themselves," he said.
"We know there's sex abuse that's never reported because people are afraid, scared that they'll have more problems. This can give voice to that and maybe help somebody else."
The North Dakota Department of Human Services and Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota have joined to offer help to parents trying to make decisions on child care for the summer.
The agencies have developed a brochure to provide answers to some of the most common questions concerning supervision of children.
The brochure is titled, "Home Alone: Is Your Child Ready?"
"It can be a challenge for parents when deciding whether their child is ready to stay at home alone because kids mature at different stages and there is no 'magic' age," said Marlys Baker, children protection services administrator in Human Services.
The brochure and other resources for parents are available online at http://www.pcand.comcq or by calling Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota at (800) 403-9932.cq
Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.