I will never the first time I visited the offices of Children Incorporated. It was on a Monday in February of 2003, a day that became one of the most significant in my life. That was the day that I was hired as Assistant Director to the U.S. Programs Division of Children Incorporated.

I clearly recall the sense of deep gratitude I experienced upon being hired to work at Children Incorporated, and through the years as I have moved from one position to another, my thankfulness has only grown.

I had worked for another, much larger child sponsorship organization for nearly twelve years, and I was happy there. I had hoped to stay with that company for the remainder of my career, doing work that was beneficial to children and families around the world, yet in August of 2002, without warning, my position and that of several of my co-workers was eliminated. I was stunned to lose a job that I loved, and for several months, I sought without success to find another place to work and to serve.

An extraordinary moment

Then, on a Sunday evening that February 2003, as I was attending church, something quite extraordinary happened. I asked the church to pray for me in my efforts to find a job. After the service ended, a man who seemed familiar walked up to me and began a conversation. He explained that he had at one time also worked for my former employer, and he recalled meeting me there. Then, he said, “You should call Children Incorporated, the place where I work now. They may have something for you,” and he gave me the number of then-President and Chief Executive Officer, Marian Cummins.

I called Mrs. Cummins the very next morning, and she couldn’t have been any nicer. She invited me to come in for an interview that same day. I went and was greeted by not only Mrs. Cummins, but also by Jeanne Clarke Wood, the founder of Children Incorporated and two other valued employees, Odell Dunavent and Helen Strathy. I was hired on the spot, and I started my position at Children Incorporated just a couple of days later.

A place to feel at home

I knew from my very first day at Children Incorporated that it was a special organization. I closely observed how the small but dedicated staff interacted with one another, and just how much work they seemed to get done. I listened as the division directors spoke with project coordinators in the field, and I was amazed to hear them referring to sponsored children by their names and not just by numbers as had been the norm at my previous place of employment.

From day one, I knew I had found my work home. The transition from a large, formal, often sterile environment to one of caring, personal connections and heartfelt dedication was a welcome change for me. I clearly recall the sense of deep gratitude I experienced upon being hired to work at Children Incorporated, and through the years as I have moved from one position to another, my thankfulness has only grown. I tell people all the time how blessed I am to work for an organization like Children Incorporated where I know that I am making a difference each and every day.

We are but the vessel through which children are fed and clothed and cared for in many diverse ways. You make all of our work possible, and I am thankful for you!

Thanks to you this Thanksgiving

You also make much more of a difference in the lives of children than you may even begin to realize. The programs Children Incorporated has established to provide assistance to youngsters functions only as a direct result of your giving. We take the dollars you provide — and with the able assistance of our network of volunteer coordinators — offer children education, hope and opportunity for their futures.

We are but the vessel through which children are fed and clothed and cared for in many diverse ways. You make all of our work possible, and I am thankful for you!

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