Why were you moved to join CCFI as an employee?
I was a single parent who needed a job and the former Executive Director, Libba Smith, knew I could manage a part time job with the foster care program. She then entrusted me with public relations plus foster care work. After a few more years, I took the Parents Assistance program on and developed it, along with my partners, Ellen Wisdom, Lynn Wendelbo, Joanie Green and Denilyn Jordan, from a one group/once a week/support group to a seven group/once a week psycho-educational program for families (adults and children) struggling with abuse and neglect. This included group, individual, family, child therapy services for all the families. By 1999 or so, I was asked to take the Clinical Director position, newly created and as yet to be clearly defined. This position offered the opportunity to grow programs, supervise professionals’ work, nurture the agency culture, help make decisions in programming, fundraising, budgeting, grant applications, and community networking. Over the years, I looked at other positions at the University, at other agencies, and as a state trainer position. However, I kept coming back to the heart work of serving children and families amidst a nurturing group of colleagues who held the same vision of health and well-being for all kiddos.
What did you enjoy most about your work?
Some of my favorite years were working with Linda Terrell and Tina Burdett. We developed a triad that was hard working, made many challenging decisions, and built respect that I have not fully experienced since. I learned more during this time about nonprofit work and about myself than during any other years. Another highlight were the years we trained with Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Karyn Purvis, developing programming (Trauma Focused Services) based on the insights and skills learned from these masters. And I have to say that the Bringing Up Babies program and Neighborhood Centers program that grew before my eyes, were highlights of prevention opportunities for many kiddos in our community. I loved them!
What do you feel is the biggest impact CCFI has made on the community?
Count the children, count the parents, count the staff teams and volunteers who have learned what it feels like to have caring adults present to children, and parents who want to be better parents, and teams who struggle with issues and come up with solutions. Every so often, I hear from a former client and realize that none of us ever really know how we have impacted another life. And we may never know. But the deal is, we do it because it is the most loving, caring, skilled, and knowledgeable way to walk with people through tough times and in community.
What would you like to say to encourage others to get involved with CCFI, whether by donating or volunteering?
Learn more about what the agency does, raise questions when you don’t understand, get in there with both feet so that you can be a part of the change for good in our community.