Remember, this is not a one-parent job, particularly if you live in a large metropolitan area. Your coordinator or other professional will be able to suggest parents who might be willing to work with you as a Pathfinder. Sometimes the coordinator will touch base with these parents first, and determine whether they are interested in being a Pathfinder. Other times, they may simply pass your contact information along, with your permission, of course.
When making first contact with these potential Pathfinders, it is important to let them know that this is a volunteer position so they can let you know how available they can be (e.g., I can make phone calls; I can make hospital or home visits; I am only available on weekends, etc.). Let them know that becoming a Pathfinder doesn't mean a daily or even weekly time commitment on their part. Explain that when the need arises, they would be called upon. Depending on the numbers of cleft/craniofacial births in your area, their call to action could be every few weeks or even every few months. Discuss these potential numbers with your team coordinator to get a feel for the demand on your Pathfinders' time.
During this call, make note of how their lives are touched by cleft lip/palate or craniofacial birth anomalies or other facial differences...you will soon realize that you are already conducting an outreach call! Many times you will hear "This is how I felt and I never want another parent to feel like that again" as they relate their story. Other times a parent will relate the wonderful experience they had during delivery and that they want to make sure other parents experience the same thing. Either way, you will know by the end of this call whether you have a Pathfinder on your hands!
An Overview of the Pathfinder Outreach Network
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