INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Denver Children’s Home provides a comprehensive therapeutic and educational continuum of care for our region’s abused, neglected, and traumatized children and their families with mental health issues. We offer prevention, intervention, and treatment programs grounded in trauma-informed care and the latest in brain-development research.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Denver Children’s Home restores hope and health to traumatized children and families. We work to disrupt the cycle of violence and abuse and help children lead healthier, more hopeful lives.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We change the lives of children and families. Most of the kids who come to the Home for help have experienced significant trauma, abuse, or neglect. We work with them to confront past trauma, set them on a path toward healing, and teach them ways to cope and move ahead.
Personally, I see impact when we are able to help a kid who has failed at all of their previous placements. Because we do things differently and are creative in treatment, we can help kids who have been unsuccessful everywhere else.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I want to help kids break generational cycles of abuse and neglect. Helping kids learn to live successfully in society without repeating the trauma they’ve witnessed or experienced firsthand would ensure healthier families in future generations. I also hope that each child is able to replicate the success and feeling of accomplishment and sense of self-worth that they’ve experienced while in our care once they are back in the community.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Adequate resources, engaged families and kids being pushed back into the community (usually because of a lack of funding) before they are ready are some of our biggest challenges. Secondary trauma that staff experiences is a huge challenge as well. As you can imagine, we all get emotionally invested in the success of our kids and unfortunately not everyone gets a happy ending. Some kids have experienced horrific injustices and it can be incredibly tough on staff and cause some of us to internalize those feelings of neglect, self-hatred and violence.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
We always say that the mission lives at the direct care level so making sure that all staff feel supported so they can do great work with the kids is critical. An organization is only as strong as the people who work on behalf of its mission. It’s my job to make sure staff have what they need to help kids.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Volunteers, contributions, item donations, and moral support all mean a lot. We must raise about 25% of our budget each year from contributed revenue so donations make a real impact. In addition, volunteers help with activities, outings, therapy garden maintenance, tutoring/mentoring and providing home cooked meals. The volunteers help the kids feel special and cared for.