A friend recently asked me: “How do you deal with hearing about child abuse all day? Don’t you ever want to give up?”
I had to think about that for a second. How do I manage that? What keeps me from giving up?
“The kids,” I said.
It really is that simple. That is what keeps me going. And our staff, donors, Board, and volunteers. That’s what keeps them going. It’s what keeps you going, why you never give up on our mission. The children we have the privilege to serve, the children who are looking to us to protect them.
The work here is tough. Our staff work with children who have experienced some of the worst trauma imaginable. Our families are often in crisis when they first visit us.
But yet, it’s always spring at Sunflower House. No matter how challenging the day or what is happening, it always feels like spring, radiating hope and a new beginning. A child may walk into Sunflower House feeling scared and fearful. They don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen. Their parents and caregivers are just as nervous.
It does not take long for children and families to realize they are in a safe place. Kids feel comfortable talking about what happened to them with a forensic interviewer. Parents and caregivers have a family advocate who supports them, reassuring them they will get through this.
When they arrive at Sunflower House, their world might feel like a cold, harsh, dark winter. By the time they leave, it feels like spring again, with the promise of sunshine and better days ahead.
Take a look at the picture above. The artist is a little girl who visited Sunflower House this week. She colored this picture, chatting happily with me as she carefully selected every color. When she finished, she proudly handed it to me with a smile.
If hope was a picture, it would look like this. It’s now hanging outside my office as a joyful reminder of why I am here. A reminder of why all of us continue in our fight to stop child abuse.
This picture is my “why.”
Thank you for always making it spring at Sunflower House.
About Judith Rodman
Judith (Judi) Rodman is the President and CEO of Sunflower House, the Child Advocacy Center serving Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. Ms. Rodman has more than 25 years experience in community mental health, family services, therapeutic intervention with children and families, and nonprofit leadership. Ms. Rodman has extensive nonprofit experience in program development and evaluation, staff leadership, and managing state, federal, and private grants. Read More.