I have had the privilege of working with Citizens Advisory Board and its founding members, Jaci Williams and Sue Durrett for 28 years now. In that time I have watched the organization grow to meet the needs of children in protective custody. What started out as Christmas for 69 children has grown to services for more than 700 children throughout the year. Some of these services include the Secret Santa Program, Special Needs Program and Preparation for Adult Living. I have been fortunate to work with these programs.
When I started working with CAB, Jaci was a new grandmother while Sue and I had infants and little children. The children in protective custody soon became a part of our family plans. They were a part of our Christmas with the Secret Santa Program. Through the Special Needs Program we were lucky enough to learn about their plans to go to camp, their athletic desires, band, choir, boy scouts, girl scouts, swimming lessons, graduation, and so much more. The difference these opportunities made for these children has been amazing.
I would love to say all of our Special Needs requests were fun, but that would not be true. There have been requests for help after fires, floods and tornadoes, requests for funeral flowers for a parent or sibling, requests for gas money to be with a child in the hospital, bed requests to allow relatives to take in children in protective custody; the list goes on. These requests are the hardest, but so important to fulfill.
I look forward to the new ideas and programs the board brings to CAB, I appreciate all the hard work made easier by helping hands, and I am grateful for my tireless friends Jaci and Sue! I have learned a lot from working with CAB over these past 28 years, but the most important thing I have learned is that by helping these children and anyone else we can, we help ourselves.