Friday, November 11, 2016

Top Ten Thankful Things

November is definitely the season of gratitude and thankfulness!  The month is spent in anticipation of gathering with friends, family and loved ones on Thanksgiving to celebrate and reflect on the countless number of things we have to be thankful for.  At Crittenton Centers, we go through this same type of reflection, thinking of the many things we have to give thanks for.  So, here is our list of ten! It is by no means comprehensive, but it certainly captures many of the blessings we are grateful for each day.

10.  Facility.

Crittenton Centers has certainly evolved since 1892 when it was founded and called the “Home of Blessing.”  The buildings of our history are beautiful and certainly served their purpose, but we couldn’t be more thankful for our state of the art facility located in the heart of the community we serve.  We moved here in 2004 and were able to bring all three core services under one roof!  This further enhanced our ability to provide wrap-around services to children and families.  365 days a year, the lights are always on at Crittenton Centers!

9. Financial Support.

From individual donors to grants secured through the State and community organizations, we could not do any of the work we do without financial support.  The financial support we receive from these sources as well as our special events, allow us to provide safe, nurturing care to children in our Crisis Nursery and Child Development Center.  It also provides us the opportunity to support parents and educate them on the important role they play in their child’s life. 

8. Resources.

Quite simply, we are thankful for all of the resources we have to educate and care for young children.  A pantry full of healthy, nutritious food; play equipment that allows children to exercise and develop their growing bodies; books to foster an early love of reading; safe reliable vehicles to provide home visits and client transportation.  All of these resources create an environment for successful learning!

7. Vendors.

We are so fortunate to have vendors that not only provide great customer service to keep our operations running smoothly, but are also deeply committed to our organization’s mission.  Jeff at Stellar Systems who manages all of our technology needs; John at Performance Foods who takes time to come in each week and personally order the food needed for children’s meals; Trisha, Mindy, Denise and Sandy at Kuhl Insurance who work tirelessly to advocate for staff; and Pam at Mutual of America who takes time to ensure staff have the tools for successful retirement planning.  These are just a few of companies we are grateful to for their continued support.  You certainly go above and beyond.

6. Community Partners.

There really are too many to name, but we could not successfully complete the mission of protecting and nurturing children and families without all of the other human service organizations in this community.  By working together in partnership we are building a stronger community.

5. Volunteers.

Our volunteers are one of our biggest blessings.  They do so much to support the work from rocking babies in the Crisis Nursery to pulling weeds in the Community Garden.  There is no way we could do as much as we do successfully without their tireless support!
Featured in the Crisis Nursery.  All of the Volunteers who regularly give their time are displayed on the bulletin board: "Friendsgiving!"

 4. Board of Directors.

Our Board of Directors are some of the most committed people you will find.  They support the mission of Crittenton Centers through lending their expertise, governance, fundraising efforts and general ongoing support.  They desire to see the agency be as successful as possible and work hard to ensure that it is.  We are so thankful for their unwavering support of the work.

3. Staff.

There are not enough words to express the gratitude we have for our staff.  They are so committed to the mission and they demonstrate that every day through their work with children and families.  In fact, they are like family.  We all work together fulfilling our specific roles to ensure success for those we serve.  Nothing would be possible without them, and they are one of our richest blessings!

2. Children and Families.

Of course near the top of our list must be the children and families we serve!  Getting the opportunity to work with these little people every day is something that motivates each and every one of us on staff at Crittenton Centers.  Tucked inside each of these children is a story that is precious and wouldn’t be complete without the parents.  That is why we are grateful for the chance to work with two generations --parents and children. 

 P.S....Here are a few things the children are thankful and grateful for.....


1.  YOU!

Our list wouldn’t be complete without you.  No matter your role, if you’re reading this blog, you are a friend of Crittenton Centers and we are thankful for you!  Maybe you give financially, or advocate for the clients we serve, or remember us in your prayers, regardless of your role, it is critical to our success.  You support us in our effort to build stronger communities by strengthening families.  Thank you!

You have undoubtedly heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”  This is something we say often around here, and is certainly a sentiment we experience every day.  Each of these items listed is a part of the village that helps make Crittenton Centers successful, and that includes you!

Happy Thanksgiving and MANY THANKS for your continued support,

Keri Hattan
Vice President and COO

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Making History Every Day . . . 

When I was in college what now seems like another life time ago, I was a secondary education major with an emphasis in history. My ambition at that time was to teach history and coach soccer on the high school level. This was partially due to two reasons; I was inspired by a couple of teachers (thank you Mr. Bonine and Mr. Lawson), and I have always enjoyed learning about and from history. Through the years, I think that my interest in history has developed more to the human involvement and cultural aspects of history, so maybe I should have become an Anthropologist. Actually, I think that because of those interests and my innate desire to help others is why working in social service is a good fit for who I am.

This week history intersected with my everyday life in two very diverse yet distinct ways. For one of them you would have had to have been hiding under a rock to not know that history was made. It has been 108 years since the last time that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. I saw an interview with a lady who was born a few months before the last time that the Cubs won in 1908. Seeing and hearing her really helped put these 108 years into perspective. This was the longest drought between championships for a sports team. I am just guessing that it won’t be 108 years before their next championship. I am not a Cubs fan, but you have to be happy for those individuals that have been fans all their lives, and this is the first time that they have been rewarded with a championship. Congratulations! 
The other way that history intersected in my life this week was an event that was held at Crittenton Centers. Kim Kliethermes, the current Board Chair, hosted a coffee for former Board Chairs. There were eight former Board Chairs, spanning from the current chair going back to the mid 1980’s that attended this event. I enjoyed the stories being told, and found them to be enlightening and encouraging. Whether it was Andrea Parker telling about how her dad introduced her to Crittenton by having her buy Christmas presents for the girls when she was 17 years old. Or whether it was Gary Ebeling telling about how the agency grappled with making the transition from a maternity home to more in line with the work we do today. Or hearing Jay Glatz talk about how proud he was that even though there were times that the agency struggled that the staff never lost sight of the mission. Or hearing about how the Stocking Stuffer Store got its start 33 years ago. Everyone had a story to tell, and every story is relevant to the work we do today.

This was a great opportunity to connect what we do today to our past and vice versa. Crittenton Centers truly does have an amazing history. There have been many people through the years that have had a hand in shaping the organization, while ensuring that the mission continues to be fulfilled. There have been more people that we will ever be able to count, whose lives are changed for the better as a result of their interaction with Crittenton.

Crittenton Centers will be celebrating our 125th anniversary in April of 2017. You don’t stay around for 125 years without making sure that the work and mission stay relevant to the need of the day. Organizations like Crittenton Centers also need a Board that provides thoughtful leadership to plan and make decisions that yield positive results. After spending about 90 minutes with these 8 individuals, it became very apparent that the agency has been blessed through the years with individuals that clearly have leadership skills but also had and actually have a love for the mission.

We are coming upon a busy time of the year for the agency with Festival of Trees and Stocking Stuffer Store. We need your help and would like to see record numbers of people attending these events as well as a record amount of revenue raised.
Please consider how you can help Crittenton Centers. Call us at 674-0105 or visit our website at to learn more about how you can volunteer, donate or take a tour.

Thank you for your interest and ongoing investment, as Crittenton Centers continues to make history every day. Take care

Jeff Gress
President & CEO
Protecting and Nurturing Children and Families since 1892

Crisis Nursery – Child Development Center – Family Services