I’ve been a SaintA board member for 14 years. And since 1990, I have been the President and CEO of Home Care Medical, Inc., which provides home care products and services to people throughout southeastern Wisconsin, many with disabilities.
I’ve been a supporter of foster care and adoption for most of my adult life. I have two adult children who were adopted through foster care, so I’ve always had a soft spot for kids in foster care. Youth, the disadvantaged and persons with disabilities are three passions I have committed my community service activities to.
Throughout my board tenure at SaintA, I have been supportive of the agency’s Independent Living Services programs, which help youth who have aged-out of foster care successfully transition into adulthood. I am always moved when I hear their stories of how SaintA has helped them overcome severe odds and move forward with strength and dignity.
Recently, two members of SaintA’s foster care and recruitment staff made a presentation to the board on the urgent need for more foster parents. I knew I had to do something, something extra. I’m just not someone who can sit on any board and not participate, whether it’s during the meeting or taking the mission outside the organization. I am a member of 10 boards, and I strongly believe that it’s a board member’s duty to take the message beyond an agency’s walls: to the community, their company and into conversations with family and friends. And in this case, I just felt there were things that really needed to be done for SaintA’s kids.
So, I contacted my company’s Spirit Team, which finds ways to engage staff on a variety of levels, including civic. They get involved in a civic event each month, with past endeavors including a coat drive for children, breast cancer awareness, food drives and the bucket challenge for ALS. The Spirit Team sprang into action and set up a Lunch & Learn on SaintA’s need for more foster parents.
We also have promoted this on our intranet, which appears every Monday with a message from me. And I contacted our webmaster to get something about SaintA’s foster home recruitment needs out on our company website.
Lastly, I have two wonderful grandchildren, 6-year-old twins Logan and Emily, who attend Humboldt Park School. The school sends literature home to parents every Tuesday, so I contacted them and they agreed to supply a SaintA recruitment postcard to all of their 600 students.
My goal is to help SaintA find at least some of the 100 new foster families they need. I hope we can find some great families to support some terrific kids.
I would encourage members of other boards to get involved in any effort they can to help support the mission of the organizations they serve. I know that board membership collides with the time requirements of people’s family, friends and businesses, and we all have only a certain amount of time we can parse out. But things such as the ones above just seemed like low-effort/high-impact activities that will hopefully help us find some great families for our terrific kids.
So, I challenge others: If you have the passion and decide to join a board, look for the opportunities in between board/committee meetings, special events and your annual gift to find those “extra” ways to support the mission of the organization. I know that with mine, as the foster care slogan goes, the need is great; the rewards are greater. And I can personally attest to that.
Interested in learning more about our foster care and adoption services? Visit growhope.net.
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