My last day at Helping Services before retirement is August 30. While preparing my desk for the new Associate Director, other things of importance or urgency kept coming through my door. Such is our work. Responding, interacting, and supporting each other and those we serve comes before most plans laid out for the day.
My time at this agency as a volunteer, board member, and staff have spanned almost 30 years. Dave recently reminded me that we met in the fall of 1985. Back then he mostly worked from his car doing puppet programs for elementary students, training students to be effective peer leaders, and teaching school personnel how to respond to students’ substance abuse issues. I, a Resource Center volunteer, worked in their consignment shop in downtown Decorah. The Resource Center’s office was one room office in the back of the store. The budget was small without much hope of expanding resources.
Much has changed in these past 30 years. We have learned to implement complex strategies of prevention and intervention for people whose lives are just as complex. In these 30 years, what is effective practice has changed, improved, and sometimes recycled. Offices and service areas have grown, staff has expanded and contracted, but our culture of looking toward the next best way to provide services has not changed.
I have a hard time putting into words what I have learned at Helping Services, and how much I appreciate the opportunity I have had to grow both professionally and personally. The challenges have sometimes been very tough, but a team is always ready to problem-solve and bring forth effective solutions. It has giving me energy and hope each day. Such is Helping Services.