A cause that is very near and dear to my heart is hosting its annual fundraiser event tomorrow evening. Like many people that get involved on a board level of a non profit, it is often easy to lose sight of the real issues at hand. Instead, we get caught up in the development plans and the lack of available grant money, HR issues, event logistics, and other areas that while absolutely necessary for the viability of an organization, are often a far cry from the real social issue at hand.
The Tennyson Center for Children (www.childabuse.org) is an unbelievable organization. It is Colorado’s leading residential and day treatment facilities, serving the most abused and neglected children ages 5 to 14. Why is this so important?
You may not know that Colorado has the ninth highest rate of children living in poverty and Colorado experienced the nation’s fastest rate of growth among impoverished children from 2000 to 2006, according to a recent study. Clearly, children in our state are not getting a fair shake – and the results can be downright devastating. Since 2001, the number of child abuse reports has risen by more than 60 percent in our state – yet the number of child caseworkers has only increased by 8 percent. Almost half of the child abuse reports made in Colorado in 2007 did not have the proper follow-up because our system is by all accounts over-burdened. Colorado continues to investigate 13 child deaths statewide that were reported cases of child abuse that “fell through the cracks.”
This haunts me. As a parent, I can only try in some way to understand the devastation these children must feel. What we do at Tennyson Center is to attempt to save these children from this dark place. We provide them — most often for the first time — unconditional love. We give them back their hopes and dreams. We try and become the stepping-stones to a life where again they can trust and love adults.
Board reports matter very little in the grand scheme of things. Don’t they?