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Student-led business fortifies families

When Tessa Wade, a sophomore studying business management, was 13 when her parents announced they were getting a divorce.

“You feel like everything is out of your control,” Wade said.

Wade said she had a lot to adjust to, especially when her mother chose to marry a man soon after the divorce.

She said she was not sure if she should call her new stepdad Brian or Dad. She said that after she began to make little contributions to the relationship, like when she nicknamed her stepdad “Stad” (a combination of Stepdad and Dad), her family grew closer.

“The way that we learn and progress is in the family,” Wade said. “It’s how we grow. Even if it’s not the perfect family, we still need to contribute and be participating in a family setting.”

Wade recently launched Family Fortitude, a company dedicated to strengthening families who are experiencing difficulty. Currently, a Facebook page and website are available.

Wade said the current content they have available will be revamped to include an actual course families can take. She said the course will aim to strengthen families mentally, emotionally, socially and financially.

“There’s going to be lessons every family gets, and then there’s going to be certain lessons that fit especially with the individuals needs in life,” Wade said.

Wade said she expects the course to launch at the end of this year.

“(Family fortitude) takes a different approach than normal counseling,” Wade said. “It’s families helping families, parents helping parents, kids helping kids, and connecting on that level.”

Wade said when families have completed the course, they will create a mentoring family profile. She said future families can then choose families who have experienced similar tragedies who have gone through the course to lead their family through the course as well.

“With this model, families are not only going through the course,” Wade said. “They get the opportunity to solidify the things that they’re learning as they teach other families that are going through the course.”

She said this way, families who have completed the course will have the chance to serve other families.

“Everyone needs a place to call home — a place where they feel they belong,” according to Family Fortitude’s About Us webpage. “With so many breaking apart, will you be that sanctuary for someone?”

Wade said she is excited about the feedback they have already received from their Facebook page.

“We launched it, like, two days ago, and there’s already 400 people following it,” Wade said. “It’s just warming my heart. Something about seeing things get started and expanding so fast — it’s just really exciting.”

Wade said the organization is geared to have a modern look.

“We are kind of taking it from the youth’s perspective,” Wade said.

Wade said she hopes BYU-Idaho students from all different majors will want to get involved.

“We need BYU-Idaho students — we need everything they have to offer,” Wade said. “Whatever they’re going into, we need all of their strengths and gifts — just like a family, because as we come together, the best things happen.”

Wade said members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often understand the family is under attack.

“Each (member) has been invited to support the family in any way we can,” Wade said. “What better way than to get involved with an organization that’s happening right where they are?”

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