Building Belonging in America’s Heartland: Introducing the CLC Network Regional Office
“Knowledge is so important to helping the community understand children who work differently,” shares Lori Wassenaar. That is what drives her to volunteer for the All Belong Regional Office Advisory Board, a group of volunteers working to bring the resources of the national organization to northwest Iowa.
The Wassenaar family is especially grateful for All Belong’s support of their kids, Elijah and Elyse. The All Belong Regional Office teacher consultant, Linda Weemhoff, observed them through a partnership between Orange City Christian School and All Belong. Linda then worked with a All Belong school psychologist in Grand Rapids, MI to “put it all together for us,” shares Lori.
“All Belong’s knowledge and help was invaluable, and I think our teachers would say the same,” recalls Lori.
In addition to unpacking school performance, All Belong helped them navigate an understanding of special education laws and rights for their kids to bring them the most support possible in their school.
The All Belong Heartland Regional Office, located inside Sioux Center Christian School, opened in Fall 2018 with the support of teacher consultant, Linda Weemhoff. Lori shares this local presence has been a great resource, providing timely input that is best for schools and the ability to make changes to students’ plans more quickly.
“I volunteered for the advisory board because it is so important for our schools to not only benefit neurotypical children, but to be inclusive of all children. God creates each of us to serve and teach in community, and the Christian faith needs to be fostered in every student through inclusive education.”
She sees this regional office as a key to helping support that community into the future.
“Without that knowledge of how children work, it is hard to be a strong community to each other. Without All Belong, it is so much more difficult to find the knowledge and teaching, and support that we need.”
In Fall 2018, Linda Weemhoff and her husband Dave moved to Sioux Center, Iowa to launch All Belong’s first nationwide regional office. They have been thrilled with the ways the community has surrounded them. “We are loving this community and are grateful for the ways this region has come around us. We truly enjoy it and thank everyone for welcoming us,” shared Linda. Linda and Dave made the decision to move in early Summer 2018, despite the surprise of a serious cancer diagnosis.
This community and this office are so important to us, and we are committed to launching it off the ground.
Our Current Regional Partners:
Support Inclusive Education in the Heartland
You can build belonging for persons of all abilities in several ways:
- Make a tax-deductible gift to support the Heartland Regional Office by giving online at clcnetwork.org/give, or mailing a contribution to:
Attn: Heartland Regional Office
4340 Burlingame Ave. SW
Wyoming, MI 49509
- Serve as a local advocate on the volunteer Heartland Advisory Board. Contact Linda Weemhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- Pray for students, schools, families, and churches in the Heartland to model God’s vision for community in 1 Corinthians 12, “One body together in Christ.”
Heartland Regional Office Advisory Board:
- Josh Bowar
- Susan De Yager
- Wanda Gerber
- Laura Heitritter, EdD
- Lauri Poppema
- Tim Van Soelen, EdD
- Lori Wassenaar