Gratitude for the generosity of our staff

Our Director of Development wrote a message of appreciation to our staff in Latham Centers’ employee newsletter last month. We’d like to share her praise of our employees’ kindness and generosity with our extended Latham Community:

As a non-profit 501c3 charity, we rely upon the generosity of those who are willing to invest in the valuable work we do and the individuals we serve. And as Director of Development, my work is focused on expanding our partnerships by sharing our stories. People often tell me, “Your job is my worst nightmare. I could never do it. I could never ask people for money every day. They must hate to see you coming…” Let’s face it, asking others – especially asking strangers for help or for things we need – can feel uncomfortable. Every time I sit across from a donor and ask them to give, I remind myself why I am asking, and how the gift benefits both the donor and Latham Centers.

My job is to inspire generosity and to show our Latham donors the impact of their gifts. Fortunately, I am surrounded by exceptional examples of kindness and generosity every day at Latham. Our staff members’ gifts are an inspiration:

The gift of patience: Stress and unpredictability in our work at Latham can unravel and undermine the best plans and routines. They can turn something small and trivial into a full-blown crisis and turn an easy morning into a miserable afternoon. We are all vulnerable to stress, especially the students and adult residents in our care, but I have seen our staff diffuse all sorts of stress and chaos with the generous gift of their patience. The patience to respond calmly, to put an individual’s safety before one’s own, to offer to take a walk, to set a limit, to listen to a story, or answer a question. These are all gifts.

The gifts of encouragement and acceptance: Encouragement is a gift that is deeply woven into the fabric of everyday life at Latham Centers. Life is not always easy, but it is especially trying for those with special needs. The frustration and anxiety that challenge our students and adult residents every day can easily hijack their happiness or worse, their hope. Hope is a muscle and it is strengthened by encouragement, goals, action, and acceptance. My favorite part of Community Meetings at Latham School is listening to our students praise and encourage each other. “You always smile when you see me and say hi.” “You work really hard on your science.” We model generosity when we offer sincere support and praise and when we give the gift of acceptance. Everyone benefits, both the giver and the receiver.

The gifts of time, talent, and treasure: This year, Latham staff ran, bowled, biked, golfed, and volunteered to help raise funds for supplemental programming and the new Latham Community Center. Latham staff have donated over $47,000 to the capital campaign that will fund this new community center! This enthusiasm and participation sends such a strong message to the community about our agency. To our many staff members who have pledged their support to our capital campaign, thank you!

To our entire Latham staff, thank you for the diverse and meaningful gifts each of you share each day at Latham Centers. Wishing you all peace and joy in the New Year.


Heather Kelsey


Pictured above: Heather Kelsey, Director of Development (center) works closely with Sheri Peterson, Executive Assistant (left), and Anne McManus, President.

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