Everyday Heroes

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Jess Dannhauser, President

December 2011

 

My 3-year-old daughter – perhaps already tired of my daily questioning about pre-school – asked, “Daddy, what did you learn at your school today?”  With the tides turned, I stuck to the basics.  “Today, sweetheart, I learned about bravery and wisdom.”  (I can’t remember whether I was referring to a parent being brave enough to make a difficult change, or a foster family welcoming a child unknown to them into their home, or a young adult re-enrolling in school, or whether I was thinking of one of our staff knocking on a new door late at night). 

From the wide-eyed look my daughter gave me, I can tell she now thinks that I go to school with superheroes.  In a way, she’s right.  The truth is someone is doing something heroic every day here at Graham Windham.  This year alone, over 500 Graham Windham children will remain safely at home, more than 300 will return to their strengthened family, and nearly 100 more will be adopted by a loving family.  Over 40 of our courageous youth bucked the odds and are off to college.  There’s a brave and wise superhero in each of those stories and in the stories you’ll read in this edition of The Record.

Yet, when you walk the halls of Graham Windham, you see no capes and no masks.  There are no illusions of grandeur here.  With our feet firmly planted in reality, we’re hard at work in our efforts to provide:  children with a safe foundation from which they can explore and thrive in the world; parents the opportunity and support to become the heroes in their children’s lives again; and young women and men the preparation they need to pursue dreams worthy of their talents. 

If you join me walking the halls of Graham Windham (bring your sneakers; there is lots to see), you’ll see determined staff and foster/adoptive parents, who have committed their lives to these efforts, working in close partnership with children and families.  They’ll likely give you a quick smile and promptly return to the work at hand in our family meeting rooms, family visiting spaces, school, cottages, clinics, treatment centers, education achievement centers, and foster homes.

It is a privilege to walk among them and our obligation to provide them with the tools they need to do right by children and families.  This year, we’ve invested in implementing practices which have been proven in the real world and are consistent with our perspective on help (see note from our CEO on page 2).  We’ve also invested in the development of our staff, supervisors and foster parents.  We do this because we know it is only on their shoulders that we will continue to rise to the challenge of helping our children and families succeed.  There is much more rising to do.  We hope you’ll join us in any way you can.