FASDAY – Get Involved

Community FASDay Events

The FASworld Toronto Pregnant Pause Baby Bump Gathering is only one of hundreds of observances planned for FASDay on Sept.9/18.

This is your chance to tell society how it can save $billions and have healthier, smarter children – we will all win.

This 20th annual FASDay event has been organized with the Toronto FASD Network Coordination Committee comprised of 27 social agencies from our city.

Come join us for this brief event to remind everyone that a woman should avoid alcohol when planning and during pregnancy.

Toronto location and timing will be announced presently.

Other FASDay observances were held in over 62 countries in every time zone around the world last September. What did you do in your community? Please let us know (brian@fasworld.com) so we can can share with our FASD Alliance around the world.

Online Manual How To Do FASDay

Online Manual – www.fasday.com
Seminar – Or try our easy, effective, exciting 1½ hour program that walks you through the morning of Sept.9:

Want to get on the FASDay Train? Want to bring others on board?
Subscribe to the FASDay mail list.
9 /9 9:09 a.m.

In late February, 1999, a small group of burned-out parents, most of whom had never met face-to-face, began to change the world. Since then, hundreds of communities around the world have joined us to honour International FASD Awareness Day (FASDay).

We are parents of children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or ARND (Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder), the most common and damaging birth defect in the world, and the one which could be totally prevented. The full range of disorders caused by maternal drinking in pregnancy are now generally known as FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), and it affects about 1 in 100 people in North America, about 4 times in incidence of AIDS/HIV. (There are about 3 million people with FASD in the U.S., and 300,000 in Canada, the majority undiagnosed.) In South Africa, Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, the rate of undiagnosed FASD is even higher.

Our original volunteers were mainly adoptive and foster parents, plus a small but committed number of mothers in recovery, who have been working hard to inform and support other women with substance abuse problems. All of us lived daily with children whose prenatal damage caused mental retardation or learning disabilities, plus severe acting-out behaviour that disrupted our lives and their classrooms, and often physical problems requiring much medical attention. For most of us, life revolved around our children’s crises: most mothers had been forced to abandon any thought of full-time career.

Frustrated by the lack of public awareness of FASD by both public and professionals, we had communicated on line internationally for more than two years. And on that February day, we began to wonder:

“What if, on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month of the year one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine, we asked the world to remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should not drink alcohol?

“At this magic minute in history, could we begin to change the world?”

And we began to work together, helped only by the Internet. Our group grew to include more than 70 volunteer coordinators in eight countries. Our northernmost volunteers were in Alaska, Yukon and the new Canadian territory, Nunavut, our southernmost in New Zealand. We obtained FASDay proclamations from numerous cities and towns, and 14 U.S. states.

FASDay 1999 began in Auckland, New Zealand, where “Minute of Reflection” bells rang at 9:09 a.m., at Mt. Albert Methodist church. Then it moved to Adelaide, Australia, and then to South Africa, where at 9:09 a.m., Cape Town volunteers gathered to hear the War Memorial Carillon that rang when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Volunteers in Italy, Germany and Sweden held events — and then FAS Day crossed the Atlantic. Volunteers staged events and bells and carillons rang across Canada and the U.S. The westernmost activity was the community breakfast on the tiny island of Kitkatla, B.C., near the Queen Charlotte Islands, where the village bell rang at 9:09 a.m. followed by prayers in the native tongue by village elders.

We missed a few international time zones. We did it all on $100 in donations, plus thousands of hours of volunteer labor. It was a labor of love and passionate commitment. We generated as much media attention as a million-dollar public relations campaign, and we made many new friends and supporters in the process. Many women of childbearing age learned for the first time that no amount of alcohol in pregnancy is safe. All of us knew that in one magic minute, we really did begin to change the world.

Every year since 1999, we’ve been doing it again, joined by new volunteers every September 9. In 2014 we heard from every province and territory in Canada, most states and DC in the USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, U.K., France, Netherlands, Germany, Lichtenstein, Uruguay, Japan and Taiwan. In fact, in 2014 over 42 countries observed FASDay in every time zone around the world.

And we’re still hoping to hear from our FASfriends in Poland, Bermuda, Brazil and Costa Rica who have participated in FASDay in the past. Be sure to check the FASday site to make sure your community is listed. If it’s not, there’s lots of information on that site to help you do your own FASDay event in your community.

“Yeah, but…What can one person do to fight FASD?”

You’d be surprised — if someone is willing to take the time to educate themselves and others on the affects of alcohol during pregnancy and how it can lead to FASD, then we will be one step closer to eliminating this tragic and totally preventable disorder!

What is the Bell Concordance?
(From the Oxford English Dictionary) Concordance: 1. The fact of agreeing or being concordant; agreement, harmony…4. An agreeable or satisfactory blending of musical sounds or notes; harmony.)

On Sept.9, 1999, bells around the world marked the “magic minute” at 9:09 a.m., and we named this ringing of bells, “The FAS Bell Concordance.” It was so successful that other organizations have picked up this term and copied it!

We came up with the bell idea as there is a purity about bells that reminds us of the innocence of children. As well, bells are historically associated with warnings, alarms, marking important moments, and simply pealing for the joy of connecting with the community. FASDay is all of these things.

On FASDay, 2000, even more bells and other percussion instruments were played – ranging from the first mission bell in New Zealand to the historic 56 bell carillon in Cape Town, South Africa, to tiny bells rung by school children, and wind chimes and rain sticks played by native Canadians.

This year, on September 9, we want the noisiest, most joyful Bell Concordance ever — and you can organize one, even if right now you are the only person in your community who knows what FASD is! You might even be able to organize the ringing of a local carillon — the largest musical instrument in existence. Even in a large, noisy city, carillon music can be heard for several blocks. There are about 600 carillons throughout the world, and we would like many more to ring during the Minute of Reflection this year. To find out if there is a carillon near you, go to http://www.gcna.org/, the most complete and accurate listings of carillons in North America.

Gerald Martindale, carillonneur at Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church (bellman@rogers.com) can help put you in touch with a local carillonneur (carillon player), if there is one. Mr. Martindale has created a concert of international lullabies, representing some of the countries participating in FASDay, and would be pleased to share his arrangements with other international carillonneurs. The FAS Bell Concordance is quite simple, and you can do most of the work on your phone. Is there a tower with a hand-rung bell in your community? This could be an older church, a city or county hall, state or provincial building, or part of a college or university campus. Unfortunately many church bells are now rung by computer, making it difficult to ring the bells off-schedule, and this may be the case in your community.

Find out who is in charge of getting that bell rung, and ask that person to have the bell rung for one minute at 9:09 a.m. on September 9. You can download the FASDay information from this site and present it to this person. If this building is a church, you may wish to speak briefly to the congregation on one of the Sundays before FASDay, and explain why the bell will be ringing at 9:09 this year.

You may want to have a small program in the church or near the bell tower, for 20 minutes to a half-hour before 9:09 a.m. Notify your child’s school, friends of FASD and related organizations that you think would be interested, e.g., your local ARC (U.S.), Association for Community Living (Canada), Exchange Club, homelessness and anti-poverty coalitions, John Howard and Elizabeth Fry Societies, and every single friend or relative you can convince to come.

No bells in your community? Use other musical instruments of your choice: drums, cymbals, whatever. One FASDay supporter shook her grandmother’s old school bell, and a group in a small northern Canadian community approached their local fire department!

This should be a happy occasion. Those ringing bells, or whatever else you choose, will be a powerful auditory reminder that we are all connected to the planet, and each other, and make a statement that FASD can be beaten.

More Ideas for Minute of Reflection
Everyone participating in FAS Day is invited to share in the “Minute of Reflection” 9:09 a.m. on September 9, as it goes around the world. In this magical moment the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month we want to get out the message that in the nine months of pregnancy, while breastfeeding or planning to conceive, women should not drink alcohol.

In this minute, we also want the world to remember those millions of people around the world who are living with fetal alcohol disorders.If a large bell or carillon is not accessible or appropriate, participants can do many things to observe that special minute in accordance with their own cultural background or religious beliefs.

The Minute of Reflection symbolizes the worldwide circle of community which links all of us who care about FASD, all of us who are working towards prevention, all of us who are trying to help children and adults with fetal alcohol disorders reach their full potential. Here are nine more suggestions for observing the Minute of Reflection. If you have other ideas, please share them with us.

Alone or with others, sit outside quietly and listen to the birds, or the wind blowing through the trees, or water lapping against the shore of a river or lake. You may want to focus on the wonderful gifts and strengths of the person(s) with FASD in your life.
Say a prayer or recite a poem appropriate to your beliefs or culture. Sing a song or hymn. Listen to an excerpt of your favourite music. (Any suggestions?) Play a musical instrument, alone, or with fellow musicians, or ring tiny bells and “triangles” as the children of Queen of Apostles School, Toledo, OH did at 9:09 a.m. on September 9, 1999. Sit in a circle and share some pure spring water with people you care about.

Place a long-distance phone call to a special friend who is equally committed to the FASD issue: you could even make it a three-way or teleconference call.

You may find 9:09 a.m. inconvenient and may prefer to mark the Minute of Reflection at 9:09 p.m., and light a candle to symbolize both the flame of your love for individuals living with FASD, and your burning desire to eradicate this preventable birth defect.
Simple silence. Each person with FASD is different, and those of us who love them respect their differences. Respecting each other while working together is what FASDay is about.