January 22 marks the official beginning of Beech Brook's 170th year of unwavering commitment to children and families. In many ways, delivering on our mission is a journey of faith. I must often remind myself that we don’t always know the impact that we’re having on the children we serve right away. We see tragic outcomes immediately, but we may not see the positive outcomes for years, maybe decades.

I was reminded of that this holiday season.

I have paper Christmas ornaments made by kids I worked with at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School 29 years ago. We made them as a class project. I take very good care of them and hang them on the tree every year. They still have the kids’ initials on them.

Shortly after taking down the tree and putting these ornaments in an envelope and then in a book to protect them, as I always do, I was contacted on Facebook by one of these former clients. She must be almost 40 now.

I won’t go into her backstory, but she came from a terribly dysfunctional family. My colleagues and I worked with all of them for years. It turns out that she now owns two businesses, one in Columbus and one in Sandusky. She is also a motivational speaker. (You may see her in the future!)

She relayed how much Beech Brook helped her. She specifically mentioned the summer program and how she teaches her own children the skills she learned. But most importantly, she said it was the relationships that helped her the most. The unconditional caring and never giving up displayed by Beech Brook.

This is what makes us different from health care. It doesn’t matter if you have a relationship with the doctor who fixes your broken leg. It will heal in eight weeks regardless. But what we do is different. Relationships matter, and they can have an impact not only on those we serve, but on generations of kids who come later.

Thank you for your support. Your impact will be felt for decades.

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