When I was asked to write a blog [this being my first one ever] about why I work for the Family Care Network and try to “be the difference,” I was apprehensive, because the reason is very personal for me. It is something I have shared with very few people. Most of the people I work closely with at Family Care Network don’t know the reason for my commitment to this agency. Up until right now, I have chosen to share my story only with my closest friends and family. I guess I have been afraid of being judged; hopefully a very unrealistic fear. So, here’s my story and why I am a part of Family Care Network.
About fifteen years ago while I was raising three young children, I was looking for a job which would allow me to spend more time with my kids while they were still young. As a CPA, my employment had been working in public accounting and the corporate world, which demanded many hours of my time and kept me from the various activities I wanted to share with my kids.
One of my many interviews was with Family Care Network which, at the time, was a tiny nonprofit undergoing rapid growth. During the interview, I was moved by Jim Robert’s passion for therapeutic foster care and the supportive services Family Care Network provides. Jim’s description of the services also brought back a flood of memories for me. You see, there is a close connection between my childhood experiences and those of the children and youth being served by FCNI. I sat there in the interview holding back a flood of emotion because I know what it feels like to be in foster care and I understand what it feels like to live in a very tumultuous home. During my childhood, I lived it for four years. Of course, I did not feel comfortable sharing this information with Jim, my prospective employer, at the time. It’s very personal and hard to share, but I feel it’s important and it’s the reason I work for Family Care Network.
As a young girl of eight years old, my parents divorced and my mother received custody of my sister and me, despite my father’s efforts to prove to the courts she was unfit. My mother kept us from almost all contact with our dad. During these four years of my life, age eight to nearly twelve, we lived with our severely mentally ill and alcoholic mother. My sister and I were subjected to constant traumatic and appalling situations. Due our mother’s behavior, we were placed in and out of three foster homes. This period of my life was extremely difficult for me, to say the least. During that time, I had withdrawn, had few friends and was doing very poorly in school.
Fortunately for us, we were rescued by our father and step-mother shortly before I turned twelve. After moving in with my dad and step-mom, I had the opportunity to recover and thrive in a healthy home environment. My step-mom was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Los Angeles County. She and my dad helped me believe in myself, and I quickly began getting nearly all A’s in school. I struggled some as a teen and young adult, getting married very young and having three kids by age 25. After having children, my biggest priority in life was to be a good mom, especially given my childhood experiences. I realized my children’s success would depend on my example, which motivated me to complete my college education, obtain my CPA license and work as a professional. By this time in my life, I was focused on balancing work and kids and I didn’t think much about my childhood difficulties.
After interviewing with Jim Roberts, I knew in my heart that if I were offered the position, I would take it. Until that time, I hadn’t thought about having an opportunity, and possibly a responsibility to help make a difference for kids who were similarly impacted. Fortunately, I was offered the position. Throughout my fifteen years as the Family Care Network’s Chief Financial Officer, I have always been grateful for the opportunity to work for this agency. Mostly, it feels really good knowing my work helps make a difference. Not only was I able to spend more quality time with my kids while they were growing up, but I have been able to witness numerous successes in the lives of children, youth and families as a result of support and services they receive through Family Care Network. Even though my role is not working directly with kids and families, I consider my work a significant part of the mission of Family Care Network and I am proud to be a part of the difference we make.