At the start of the year I do my best to clean off my desk, re-examine my never ending to-do list, and, if I’m lucky, find a few ways to improve my self-care routine. I also use early January to look back, and to look ahead for Blue Sky Bridge.
For the organization as a whole, I believe our greatest success in 2018 was making Blue Sky Bridge a more diverse place to work and receive services. Bilingual and multicultural staff is now present in all program areas – child advocacy, therapy, and education. Each day we strive toward greater cultural competence and endeavor to maintain an environment where children and families from all backgrounds feel welcomed, respected, and acknowledged by staff, multidisciplinary team members, and volunteers.
Another great success was sustainably managing our operating budget growth (a 78% increase between 2015-2018) that resulted from a successful capital campaign. With an expanded building, programs, and staff, we were faced with the daunting challenge of maintaining that growth. In order to be successful, we increased capacity within our development team in order to aggressively pursue new sources of funding. Our current supporters also stepped up in a big way, increasing their generosity and opening their personal networks, so that we could continue providing for the needs of our community.
On the flip side, there were many challenges. Growth is hard. Change within an organization is hard, and we’re still working out some of the day-to-day kinks. We continue to struggle with how to best communicate our work in a way that is both informative for our supporters, but also non-traumatizing. And though we have the most incredible and generous donors in the world (in my humble opinion), bringing on new supporters is an incredibly difficult process.
Despite all of the growth and all of the challenges, the very heart and soul of who we are has not changed a bit. At the end of the day, children’s safety is still our number one priority. It is in the value of keeping kids first that we remain diligent and more united than ever before at every level of the organization.
As I look ahead to 2019, my commitment is not only in helping to bolster our core/in-house programs, but to explode our outreach and education surrounding the prevention of child sexual abuse. I want every person living in every corner of Boulder County to receive the education needed in order to recognize the signs, minimize the risks, and know how to react responsibly to an allegation. We have made enormous strides, but we still have a long way to go before we reach the tipping point. After all, it is our mission to end child abuse.
In closing, I want to extend my extreme gratitude for where I am today. I love my job and I love this organization that I’ve had the privilege of serving as Executive Director for over six years. Our mission to foster safe communities, healing, and justice to end child abuse is a powerful one. In my opinion, there really is nothing more important than helping our community’s children to be safe.
Thank you for standing with us.
Gina Maione Earles