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Caring – It’s What We Do!

—Beth Kerg, Emergency Shelter Supervisor

We received a challenging case recently for our Mental Health Emergency Shelter Care program. This young man was as sweet as can be, but he had a lot of medical and developmental challenges – challenges most of us have not had to deal with before. When we accepted him into our Emergency Shelter, we had no idea the magnitude of his requirements. Little by little, we kept getting information throughout his admission day. The more information we received, the more apprehensive we were. It seemed like we were taking on a case we were sure we couldn’t handle and were setting ourselves up for failure. It appeared to be a bleak situation. However, with much teamwork from all departments, we were able to make his stay with us a success!

So many staff members pitched in to care for our client. Maintenance Tech Lisa Green came in on her day off (and was sick!) to get needed supplies out of her office. Development Director Kristi Geiger made sure this young man had clothes and toys. He came with nothing! She also provided me with gift cards to get the supplies we lacked on campus. Youth & Family Specialist Laronda Gadlen took him by her side to make sure he acclimated to his new environment. Prevention Specialist Gwen Clark continuously checked on him throughout the day. Teacher Amy Kohler took him into her classroom without hesitation. Our clients took him under their wings and protected him. I was incredibly impressed with the way our kids handled him given his disabilities. I didn’t see or hear anyone bully him!

Every member of the Heidelberg team helped him get cleaned up after an accident and paid extra special attention to his needs. Our food services department catered to his special diet. Our Unit Supervisors Wendy Wolchanski, Erin Townsend, and Jeanne McGee gave amazing support as they guided us through new challenges. Last, but certainly not least, our Health Services team….oh what a team! Amber Richey, John Kelpin, and Danita Curry, I can’t even begin to put into words how much I appreciate everything you did! The hospital bed, feeding supplies, feedings in general, attempted doctor appointment…the list goes on. Without the Health Services team, we would not have survived!

I want everyone to know how much I appreciate every person who stepped up to help this young man. It’s such a great reminder of the awesome team we have here and reminds me why we do what we do. Although this kiddo was not in our lives for very long, I am confident in saying we all made a huge difference in this young man’s life. It showed we will do WHATEVER IT TAKES!