Ramily Matters Making a Difference

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Provided by Liz Sutherland

A family cooking food at a recent Ramily Matters event.

Lucas Hug, Advertising Manager

Ramily Matters is an organization that School Psychologist Sarah Rozniecki and Instructor Liz Sutherland started together. They are both passionate about inclusion and wanted to create something where all families could come together to learn and grow. 

“We looked at a few other family outreach programs, but found that many were limited to certain “types” of families (i.e. single parent, grieving families, specific financial concerns, support groups),” said Sutherland. 

As a teacher and school psychologist, Sutherland and Roziecki were confident that all families could benefit from taking time to learn.

“That first year we focused on some tough issues (mental health, anger management) and lighter issues (cooking class),” said Sutherland “As we’ve grown, we’ve learned that families in Glenwood are open to learning and supporting one another. We have some families that come to every event and it’s been such a joy to watch their children grow.”

Ramily Matters meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Each event includes a free dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by an educational or bonding activity at 6. Some times parents and students are divided into groups while other times they work together on a group activity. 

“To tell the truth, I am still shocked by the success of Ramily Matters,” said Sutherland “It is amazing to me when we get calls to present at conferences on the topic of family engagement. We were once told, ‘You can’t have a conference in Iowa without inviting ‘those Ramily ladies.’ That was pretty cool.”

Ramily Matters won the “Promising Practices” award from the Iowa Department of Education. 

“It was a thrill to win the “Promising Practices” award from the Iowa Department of Education,” said Sutherland. I feel immensely humbled by the honesty from families who have taken information from our activities and applied it in their homes. Sometimes I feel guilty that I can’t give more time to the program. I think Sarah and I agree there is so much more we could be doing.”