February 01, 2017
Executive Director Transition Underway at Friends - Klamath Basin
A letter from former Executive Director Angela Groves...
There is some wonderful and exciting transition happening at Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin! After four years of working on behalf of Friends – Klamath, first a board member, and then as Executive Director, it is now time to pass the torch on to my successor, Amanda Squibb. My positive experience with this phenomenal organization has been life changing, both personally and professionally. It was a giant leap of faith for both myself and the board of directors to bring me on as the ED, but I am absolutely thrilled by the progress and growth we’ve accomplished together. Before my involvement, this dynamic and forward thinking board recognized the need for Friends – Klamath Basin to hire an ED to represent the organization throughout the community, and set the stage for future growth. Youth that had been enrolled between years 2000-2003 had graduated from high school, and in order to begin enrolling more kindergartners, and make more critical 12 year commitments to local youth, the organization needed to be on solid ground financially and otherwise.
I entered the role of ED with no formal background in non-profits, and with very limited leadership experience. I knew though without a doubt, and in my core, that the Friends of the Children model made absolute sense, and was a tremendous and virtually unknown asset to the Klamath Basin. I knew that despite how terrifying it was to jump right in with so little experience, I could be that needed advocate, and share our story with those that needed to hear it.
Fast forward just over three years and we have almost doubled our number of youth enrolled, with 45 being served this fiscal year. More community members and leaders are taking the time to hear our story, and are making every effort to help us to better integrate and educate those around them about our preventative impact to the community. This intentional work with our youth is holistic, and it involves committing to the youth that need a dedicated professional mentor in their lives from kindergarten to graduation, 12 ½ years – No Matter What.
My favorite aspect of the Friends – Klamath Basin ED role has been by far the relationships that I have built along the way. Friends is in a unique position in that our comprehensive services to youth have inspired me to learn more about local systems, and about the work being done in all facets of the community. This broad reach extends into the medical/health care community, educational systems, mental health providers, juvenile justice, and even specific initiatives such as the Klamath Promise and beyond. Being in a position to sit around these various tables, and to experience at a deeper level how dedicated and innovative the Klamath community truly is, has been an absolute joy, and has inspired me to constantly look around me with a brighter and more thoughtful lens.
Amanda will unquestioningly continue advancing Friends – Klamath Basin forward and onward. She is a joyful and kind soul that is deeply committed to seeing all youth in our community succeed. As we work together through this transition, I am confident that the upcoming strategic planning process the staff and board will begin in the coming months will include continued school and foster care enrollment – allowing us to serve more youth than ever before. Friends – Klamath Basin will also continue to be an exemplary model for other rural communities across Oregon, and even across the nation, that may be interested in implementing the Friends model in their own area.
My most basic intention was always to leave the organization in a better place than I had entered. Due to my husband’s evolving role with Les Schwab, I knew that my family’s time in Klamath would be limited. However, once I committed to the ED role, I was certain I could propel Friends into growth despite my lack of knowledge about what the long term future held for our family. We are currently waiting excitedly to hear where in the West our next adventure awaits.
I am thankful for these last amazing 11 years in the Klamath Basin, and the last four in particular with Friends of the Children. It will forever be the community in which our boys were born, and we have made lifetime friends that will be a constant part of our lives in the future, regardless of geography.
Klamath - you are truly the best. You have grit, perseverance, and hope for the future – and I can’t wait to see where it takes you.
Al the Best,
Former Executive Director
Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin
Read the Herald & News ED transition coverage here: http://www.heraldandnews.com/n...