Family Leadership Center Quarterly Newsletter | Fall 2020

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As I write to you from our family’s cozy home in Yarmouth, Maine, the birdbath has frozen over and our reflective vests have been in use for over a month — it is hunting season here and if we want to take a walk in the nearby woods, we need to stay visible and bright.

A 17-year-old has happily become the family chef – creatively experimenting with new flavors, spices, and ingredients. Two 14-year-old boys have taken up bushcraft, the art of survival in the woods by making simple, livable structures using fallen trees and plain tools. With hatchets, a hand saw, and twine, they’ve created a lean-to and they have grand plans for more when they aren’t attending school via Zoom. The two of them slept out in their structure last weekend. In the morning, we hiked out to join them in cooking breakfast sausages and sipping hot cocoa together around their fire.

The past year has taken away so much of what we thought was normal. Yet, the deep desire to be connected, to feel capable, to have a voice, and to have the courage to face the next day is as strong as ever. How do we meet our own core needs and, on top of that, help our children, our community, and somehow manage to get anything done for our work? That’s a question that parents, grandparents, and other caregivers have been deeply considering and creatively solving in Family Leadership Center (FLC) classes and workshops over the past nine months.

When the lockdown began in mid-March, our FLC classes were mid-session. The groups were comprised of warm, fun, in-person circles of parents and other caregivers. Together, we were growing and we were challenging ourselves to help our families and the children in our lives to be more capable and to thrive. By early April, we had transitioned our programs online and we started offering more! We held free workshops and continued to make scholarships available to interested families with demonstrated financial need so that anyone who desired could participate. As spring transitioned to summer, instead of taking a summer break, we offered more classes and held more interactive sessions. And we’ve continued right through this autumn.

Meanwhile, FLC’s work has been buoyed by talented, dedicated thought partners from throughout the United States. Our Leadership Team has become a vibrant, engaged community of 10 parents from diverse backgrounds who are invested in growing their skills and sharing this work. Our Board of Trustees has also grown — we welcomed two new members this summer. Together, we are united in our goal to broaden FLC’s reach to include new regions and even more diverse communities.

As you read this newsletter, I hope you get a taste of who we are, a glimpse at where we’re headed, and ideas about how you can join us in this work! This memorable year has highlighted innovative ways that FLC can continue fulfilling our mission and purpose in 2021 and in perpetuity. I’m here for you, and I would love to connect!

Wishing you a gentle, warm, and fun holiday season – whatever form it takes.
Marjie Longshore, Ed.M.
Executive Director

Thank You For Your Impact

Thanks to your generous support in 2020 we…

  • Presented over 112 hours of programs
  • Served parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers from Yarmouth, Maine to Boston, Cape Cod, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, St. Louis, Denver, and San Francisco
  • Established our family education center at 162 Main Street, Yarmouth, ME as a resource to the greater Portland community and it also enables us to digitally connect with our global community

Family Leadership Center’s Purpose

The mission of the Family Leadership Center is to educate parents, teachers, and caregivers in principles that encourage young people to contribute to society and become thoughtful leaders.

At the heart, our workshops and classes provide a civic education. FLC gives parents, teachers, and caregivers the tools to raise citizens who can listen to one another –– even those with differing opinions –– make decisions collectively, and contribute to the community in meaningful ways.

Our parenting classes are designed to give caregivers the tools they need to make a healthy, lasting impact on families. In class, participants find an encouraging and interactive environment where they receive practical support for daily obstacles as well as the skills to look beyond challenging behavior to grow an encouraging community at home. With the help of leader support, class members are able to try new parenting tactics in a group setting.

Our Mission at Home: A Personal Parenting Story

A class participant and her husband were struggling in August with the difficult decision of whether to allow their children to return to in-person school for the upcoming school year or to have them in virtual school at home.

Normally, a decision like this would have been made independently of the children, because the parents were accustomed to making the important decisions and rules for their family. However, this mom was embracing the new approach she was learning in her parenting class and decided to share the difficult and complicated decision with her boys (ages 5 and 8) in their weekly family meeting.

Over a series of follow-up meetings, the family came to a thoughtful consensus that everyone felt at peace with. The process involved the children holding different parts of the complicated issue and considering putting aside personal wishes for the needs of the greater community.

The mom later shared how connected the family felt through the process and how impressed she was by her children stepping up and increasing their ability to listen and problem-solve together. What at first felt like a stressful situation (the parents had been losing sleep over it as they tried to decide before letting the boys in on the process) turned into a bonding experience, and everyone gained a deeper admiration for each other.

“I loved the numerous strategies you shared! That felt very supportive. I took copious notes… I loved that you brought in self-care. That is a huge part of parenting that so often is almost completely overlooked.”
– Parent on the East Coast

Upcoming Workshops/Events

We are here to support you. Keep checking our website ( for upcoming course launches, workshops, and events.

New Offerings:

Winter Courses (Feb-April 2021):

  • Foundations I Classes: You requested and we heard you! There will be two cohorts of our flagship class running concurrently to accommodate timing preferences. Participants now have the option to  join the 10am class, or the 8pm class (EST). Learn more about the class here.

If you know someone who wants to further develop their civic parenting skills or find the help they need to address and overcome family challenges, encourage them to read more about FLC, our classes, and one-on-one coaching at or reach out to us directly at

Family Fun!

Looking for a fun way to play games with your kids and grow your own skills, too? Want to learn one of the very best card games of all time? Want to meet fun kids and adults during this pandemic?

Join us to play MiniBridge … on the road to learning Bridge.

New beginner group starting:

  • Tuesday, December 1, 2020
  • 4pm – 6pm Pacific; 7 – 9pm Eastern
  • Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays via Zoom
  • Totally free of charge

Low-stress, fast-paced fun!

Bring your friends and family from any and all convenient time-zones.

For more information, contact Deborah:

Help Us Grow!

Please consider a gift to Family Leadership Center’s 2020 Annual Appeal to help us continue offering our classes, workshops, coaching sessions, and publications. Our work encourages parents, grandparents and other family members, teachers, nannies, and caregivers as they work together to establish a stronger democracy in our future.

Your gift to FLC supports our mission-focused activities and encourages our constituents to intentionally raise children who can listen to others and solve problems together. Our annual appeal is our most important fundraiser in 2020. Please consider a gift to Family Leadership Center to ensure we can continue encouraging parents and families as they work together to establish a stronger democracy in our future.

Donate to Family Leadership Center

Donations, volunteers, and program participants all help FLC spread our core values of empowering parents, caregivers, and children through encouragement, diplomacy, and kindness. Every gift, volunteer, and constituent makes a difference to FLC!

Interested in supporting FLC’s continued progress and learning more about how you can be involved in our growing organization? Contact Executive Director Marjie Longshore.

With Gratitude And Appreciation As You Supported Us Going Online

Thank you to the parents who have joined us for workshops, core classes, and one-on-one sessions online. Your unwavering support and encouragement have made our innovation and success possible! You, and all the generous supporters across the organization, have enabled us to adapt to our current reality and successfully pivot to digital programming. While we can’t wait to return to in-person classes while also offering online classes for constituents outside of the Yarmouth area, we’re thrilled to continue to share our programs with an ever-expanding circle parents, teachers, grandparents and engaged, caring adults.

I appreciate you and each of our class members and I feel that my experience in general, and as a parent, has been enriched as a result of …this group. I have so much more learning to do… and I am grateful for the strategies and ideas that have been shared along the way. I also love that each of us can call on any other class member if we want to practice something before putting it into action. That’s a gift!”
– Parent in the Midwest

Meet Our New Board Members!

FLC is grateful for the support, leadership, and expertise of its Board. We are excited to welcome two new board members.

Lara Ratkovic (Philadelphia, PA)

Lara lives in downtown Philadelphia with her partner and two children ages 9 and 7. With a background in linguistics, she has many years experience developing curriculum and leading both in-person and online programs and conferences. Lara has found a true passion for this work and looks forward to sharing her experience with Family Leadership Center.

Wendy Tracy (Falmouth, ME) 

Wendy is the mother of two girls and lives with her husband outside of Portland, Maine. With a background in counseling and a passion for connecting people, she has been active in her church, as a long-time Girl Scout leader and as a volunteer for Middlebury College both as an Admissions interviewer and as President of the Alumni Board. She is excited to be involved with FLC and to continue to build connections through the local community.

Our Board

Marjie Longshore, Yarmouth, ME
Susanna Hooper, Swarthmore, PA
Louise LeBlanc, Yarmouth, ME
Judy Carlson, Chatham, MA
Leah Eggers, Chesterfield, MO
Andy Hooper, Swarthmore, PA
Katie Redfield, Yarmouth, ME
Lara Ratkovic, Philadelphia, PA
Wendy Tracy, Falmouth, ME

Thank You!

Thanks so much for your continued support! If you have a friend or family member who might be interested in our programs, please have them sign up for our newsletter or invite them to read our blog to learn more.

Wishing you wonderful holidays, and we look forward to staying in touch with you!