Every year Spring brings a sense of renewal, and it always reminds me of the cycle of growth we see each day at Gemma. This growth is apparent in the transformative impact of Martin Luther School’s educational program and through the powerful healing children experience through Outpatient therapy, in our Residential Treatment Program, and across all Gemma’s services. Every day, we see examples at Gemma of the strength and resilience of the children and families we serve – no matter their age, the hardships they have experienced, or the barriers they confront. We are honored to walk alongside them in their journey.
Gemma is experiencing our own cycle of growth and change, too. Our robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work continues as we live into our commitment for Gemma to be a place where all feel they belong. Also, two years after our merger, we have launched a Strategic Visioning process through which we are exploring all that Gemma can be in the future for kids and families and our communities. I look forward to sharing updates with you about both these efforts in the coming months.
Today, I write to thank YOU, our friends and partners, for walking with Gemma on our journey. With your support, we bring critical services to thousands in our communities each year. We share here just a few examples of “our” children and families:
- Shaniyah* is an 11-year-old girl who came to our Residential Treatment Program after struggling with unsafe behaviors. Our skilled mental health professionals helped Shaniyah process her feelings about past abuse and come to see these traumas were not her fault. With support, she practiced new ways to express her feelings when overwhelmed, sad, or angry. We are very proud of Shaniyah’s progress and hopeful for her bright future as she returned to live with caring relatives.
- Jaden, a 7th grader at Martin Luther School, arrived reading far below his age level. He often threatened peers when angry and had difficulty engaging in virtual learning last year. With his teachers’ support, Jaden began this school year very excited to greet new friends and school staff he had not met in person before. Jaden is now reading at grade level and feels more in control and motivated to work hard to make his family proud.
- Ms. Davis, a single mother with three young children, began working with our In Home Protective Services (IHPS) team when she was released from prison. Gemma’s staff helped her make her home safe and comfortable for her children, strengthen her parenting skills, and connect with helpful resources. Ms. Davis has regained custody of her two older children and is working diligently for her youngest to be able to return to live with her as well. We are hopeful that with continued support, the future is bright for Ms. Davis and her children.
If you have already made a gift to Gemma this year, we thank you. If you have not, we hope you will make a gift to support the healing power of Gemma’s vital work with children and families like Shaniyah, Jaden, and Ms. Davis. We are proud to walk with you and beside children and families who are often sad, scared, sometimes angry. With you, Gemma is able to help children and families heal, endure through significant challenges, and embrace hope even in times that seem very dark. Together, we are transforming hope into action.
Kristen E.M. Gay, Ph.D.
President & CEO
*Names changed for privacy.