August 21st marks 30 years since the Family Care Network opened its doors to begin serving our community’s children, youth and families impacted by trauma. We’ve been celebrating this milestone all year by walking you through our 30 year journey, spotlighting important people, partnerships and moments which have made the last 30 years not only possible but exceptional.
Ann Ward is certainly someone who has made the last 30 years possible. She and her husband were two of our first foster parents. They’ve been with FCNI from day one, and have served hundreds of children and families in profound ways over the years. Ann has also become an invaluable trainer and foster parent support person, helping others to serve and succeed.
The following was written by Ann in honor of the last 30 years--and reflects her tremendous heart for our mission and our community!
“I am celebrating 32 years of being a Resource Parent. Thirty of those with FCNI. I am celebrating my family’s endurance, perseverance and commitment to serving others in our home. We have the gift of hospitality and have offered it generously to many over the years. We have received many benefits in return, some of them being things like teamwork, open mindedness, flexibility and perspective. I have had the opportunity to watch a “new born” nonprofit, with a staff of three, grow and develop into a mature entity, with a staff of a couple of hundred. FCNI has not only changed the lives of the clients they’ve served but has impacted the community partners it works with and the way our state and nation provide services. What a ride!
When I first became a Resource Parent--it was Jim Roberts who recruited me and did the sign-up paperwork by the way--there was no training required. Many might think that was a good thing considering the training that is currently provided, but I soon discovered that the needs of the children and families we cared for had unique and sometimes overwhelming challenges. Every skill and strength I had came into play in that process. I learned about reaching out for support and education from those that were generous enough with their time and talents to mentor me. I learned to fine-tune my advocacy skills and speak up relentlessly for the needs of my kiddos.
Through all these years, I never felt alone in the process. FCNI has been there to listen, support, implement and grow with us. I have the ability now to look back and consider this particular life journey as a Resource Parent/family and feel so blessed to have taken the trip! The people I came to serve with have been talented, inspiring, creative, forward thinking and genuinely kind and caring. I have appreciated being a part of the growing pains; change can be difficult, but the outcomes of success from those changes have proven worthwhile for many.
For a couple of years now, several people have asked us when we’re going to ‘retire’ but I don’t view serving others as something you retire from. It is part of who we are as individuals in a family and I am proud to belong to an organization who has the same quality of commitment and excellence.
Thanks to all of you I have had the honor and privilege to joyfully serve with.
Ann and family.”