Years ago when I was the executive director of a residential treatment center in Massachusetts, a former resident came by one evening to check in and catch up. As we sat there talking, he asked about a number of his favorite staff members, cottage counselors, and teachers who had left an impression on him. The visit 20 years ago taught me the greatest impact that we have on the children and youth we serve is through a caring staff. This young man could not tell me about the treatment modality he benefited from but could tell me the names of his favorite staff and recount the countless ways they touched his life.
At Hillsides we are so fortunate to have many staff who have been loyal to the organization for decades. Their commitment to our mission and those we serve is the foundation of our success. Likewise, the support we give to fellow staff is just as important. From maintenance, residential treatment and community-based services, to education and administration, staff members provide an indispensable source of support for their peers.
Many staff know one another’s spouses, children and even pets. In such an environment, when happiness and joy touches one person’s life, everyone celebrates. When hardship and tragedy strike, all pitch in and give support.
|Nancy Garni with her husband, Mike Seltzer|
Hardship struck one of our senior staff members at Christmas this past year when Nancy Garni, our esteemed chief advancement officer, was diagnosed with leukemia. A routine physical turned into an ordeal that has seen her in and out of City of Hope since January. Although undergoing continued treatment for leukemia, she is in desperate need of a donor for a blood stem cell transplant. For those of us who work alongside Nancy, appreciate her competence and expertise, and recognize her unwavering commitment to the children and youth we serve, there is nothing we wouldn’t do to see Nancy through this ordeal.<
As the result of the initiative of one of our former board members, Mark Mertens, #TeamNancy campaign has been created to help identify a stem cell donor for her. The extraordinary people at City of Hope have teamed up with the Hillsides community to conduct a donor drive. The cost of screening will be underwritten by friends of Nancy so no one should be deterred because of the cost. You can contact Raquel Amezquita of City of Hope directly at 626-251-6258 or please consider being the match by learning more. We’ll be hosting a Be The Match drive at Hillsides Support Services very soon so stay updated by visiting our #TeamNancy page. Join us as we acknowledge Nancy’s commitment to the children, youth, and families we serve and help us to support such an extraordinary member of our staff and community. Join #TeamNancy!