Ms. Heather Groves, former Crossroad client received the IARCA Youth Voices Award.
Heather had a childhood riddled with difficulties shared by so many of the children served by IARCA member-organizations. She suffered from the results of an unhealthy family environment leading to serious emotional disorders and including an eating disorder that nearly took her life.
She began receiving services at a young age including Foster Care, residential, and independent-living services with a number of providers. She was placed in Crossroad’s residential program for nearly 12 months beginning in October 2005. Later, Heather was placed in our independent living program and started college with the help of a Crossroad Higher Education Scholarship. Heather credits Crossroad staff with her health progress and her educational success.
Heather was nominated for this award because of the young woman she has become. She was nominated for her hard work striving for health, her passion for sharing her story, her dedication to advocating for young people, her willingness to give back to Crossroad, and her commitment to studying and working in the field of Social Services.
Heather is a young woman who likes to set goals. Despite medical and mental health challenges, she has continued to push forward setting her sights on futures success. She made the decision to enroll in college in summer of 2011. She started with 2 classes that semester and in spite of some health and financial difficulties in the first year, she has managed to continue her studies and has made the Dean’s List.
She was eager to share her life-story with Crossroad stakeholders at our 2013 Annual Dinner Event. She and her former Crossroad case-manager shared an inspiring dialogue about her experiences. Although it was not an easy story for her to tell, she strongly felt the story needed to be told.
In the February, 2014, Heather started attending the Our Children, Our Future-System of Care committee meetings. This committee is an Allen County consortium made up of representatives from provider organizations, school systems, the police department, the Department of Child Services. She became an official member of the committee in March and is glad for the opportunity to advocate for youth in this way.
Heather is also a volunteer at Crossroad in the Development Office: accompanying the Chief Development officer while making face-to-face visits with donors, helping make thank-you calls and write thank-you notes to donors, putting together mailings, doing historical research, inventorying in-kind donations and more.
Heather is pursuing a Human Service degree with a minor in Psychology from IPFW. She plans to work in the social service field when she is graduated from college. Whether she decides to work with adults or children, she hopes always to be an advocate for and an example to young people.
Heather inspires us. She helps us understand the life-changing importance of the services we provide for, and the relationships we create with, children and youth. She gives us hope.
Congratulations Heather! We are proud of you!