INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Tennyson is relentlessly focused on helping kids aged 5-18 who experienced trauma from abuse, neglect and mental illness heal, reintegrate into safe families and schools, and flourish in society.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Tennyson radically and positively changes the pathway for kids who experienced trauma from abuse, neglect and mental illness.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Tennyson’s impact is becoming clearer every day. We have recently completed a four-year study with Kaiser Permanente which shows kids who came to Tennyson sustained their treatment plans for more than 30 months, and helped reduce costs by 39% due to reduced use of emergency services for kids in crisis. We have data that shows we are keeping kids in safe families, keeping them on-track in school (with kids catching up grades over short periods of time) and decreasing the use of emergency services at great savings to society. We will continue to measure impact, with a new monitoring system being implemented that tracks the impact of our work on kids through early adulthood.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Most people give up on kids who experience trauma, labeling them bad kids (or bad adults). They kick them out of school, remove them from families, and isolate and abandon them.
We see a different narrative. We see amazingly strong kids – resilient kids – whose trauma can be processed and who can turn behaviors that they have adopted in order to survive into positive behaviors that can be used for good.
As a result, we see kids who society gave up on turn big corners and excel in society in ways that few imagined. We are unleashing kids for good, rebuilding families and communities, and will not stop until all kids who have been abused receive the support they need to thrive.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Tennyson wants to rewire the entire child welfare system so that kids who society has given up on all have a real shot at excellence. We reject the idea that abused kids are destined for jail, for drug abuse, for homelessness and for other negative societal outcomes. We embrace the reality that kids can process their trauma, harness their strengths and reshape the world for good.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
All organizations like ours need financial support to bring our work to scale. That said, we are also looking for game changers who can align with us to help kids thrive in unconventional ways (job paths, mentors, caring adults who see strength and possibility in these kids). We need a new mindset on how to work with kids in crisis, and welcome all who want to join us in opening new pathways for kids!
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Uncertainty from Washington on matters like the ACA, Medicaid and CHIP are truly distorting an already under-resourced market. Some leadership would be welcome.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
The best leaders I know are the ones who unleash talent in new ways, are never satisfied with just being good enough, and who are willing to push boundaries that need to be pushed for better results. Also, take impact monitoring seriously and have the courage to ask hard questions about the true impact of your work. If results do not meet expectations then use that as an opportunity to improve.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
We are building a movement of advocates – join us in numerous ways via our web page, help us improve, and be a true advocate for kids.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We tell their stories, connect people to their causes, and help them communicate with their stakeholders in consistent and meaningful ways. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.