Meet Wendy Archer co-founder of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA. Archer started PAAO USA to promote healthy co-parenting in every family situation. With 11 chapters across the country, PAAO USA is expanding and gaining in notoriety and has been featured on media outlets in Dallas-Fort Worth and across Texas.
In 2012, the organization was named a finalist as Southlake civic group of the year for trying to improve the lives of others. Archer says she was inspired to begin PAAO USA based on personal experience and continues to lobby state legislators and federal lawmakers to reform a legal system she sees as broken.
We wanted to know more about Archer and PAAO USA and she was kind enough to take a little time to share some thoughts:
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA.
Wendy Archer: Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA (PAAO USA) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to increase awareness, education and understanding about parental alienation and co-parenting to the public and professionals. To accomplish this mission; we distribute awareness and education materials, have awareness and education events, as well as meet with professionals such as counselors and teachers. Our North Texas Chapter has monthly support group meetings that are sponsored by the City of Southlake Public Library.
DT: What are your duties at PAAO USA?
WA: As a Co-Founder and Officer of the organization, my duties include ensuring that we are diligent in our mission to help families, increase public awareness and educate professionals with accurate and useful information about parental alienation and co-parenting as well as motivating and encouraging others to join us in our mission.
DT: How did you become involved with Parental Alienation Awareness and Education, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the organization?
WA: I become an advocate for parental alienation awareness and education when it touched our family many years ago. I'm deeply passionate about parental alienation awareness and education because it is a true epidemic and crisis across our country that is severely affecting the health, safety and well-being of thousands of children.
DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?
WA: Families dealing with parental alienation are in a very desperate and extremely heartbreaking situation that is almost too painful to describe. I work in the non-profit sector to help families dealing with this tragic situation. It is a truly priceless reward when someone says "Thank you for what you do. I thought I was all alone. I didn't know if I could survive this. Now I know I'm not alone and I can get through this."
DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?
WA: It's very challenging to stay financially afloat as a non-profit! We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which means donations made to our organization can be tax deductible. We ask for donations as well as participate in fundraising tools such as iGive and the Tom Thumb charity program. People can choose "Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA North Texas Chapter" as their Charity of Choice for iGive online shopping and for their Tom Thumb Rewards Card and a percentage is donated to our organization. I keep praying for a benefactor for our organization so that we may do even more great works!
DT: How can the people of DFW and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?
WA: The people of DFW and beyond can help PAAO USA North Texas Chapter in a few important ways. The first way they can help is to make financial donations to our organization. The second and a very important way they can help is to simply help us break the silence about parental alienation and join us in making a public outcry that parental alienation is severe emotional abuse that is UNACCEPTABLE!
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA?
WA: I have met the most amazing people and had so many interesting experiences due to being a parental alienation awareness and education advocate. One of my most memorable moments was traveling to Washington DC in 2013 to meet with congressmen and senators about parental alienation. One of the my other most memorable moments was meeting Dr. Richard Warshak for the very first time. Dr. Warshak is one of the world's most renowned experts on parental alienation. To meet Dr. Warshak was a dream-come-true. Dr. Warshak has since become a very dear friend and trusted mentor. Another memorable moment was when our organization was a finalist for the Southlake Civic Group Of The Year, "formally recognized for improving the lives of others in the community." The Southlake community has been so supportive and that was a great honor and very special moment!
DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?
WA: The first thing I can do when starting my work day is check my email and Facebook messages as there are always new messages from alienated parents and grandparents. Getting a message of hope and understanding to them as soon as possible is very important.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.