Staff Spotlight: Heather Kelsey’s inspiration comes from our Latham families
The inspiration guiding our Director of Development Heather Kelsey comes from the children and adults we serve, as well as their families. “I am deeply moved by their courage and their persistence. They often need to work a lot harder for things that others take for granted. They face challenges and obstacles that many of us could never imagine, and yet they have a huge capacity for joy,” she said. Heather’s role at Latham Centers is to raise funds to bridge the gap between the cost of running the agency and what is covered by tuition, state, and federal funding. She’s often behind-the-scenes, but as coordinator of the public launch of the Capital Campaign last week, she has been in the spotlight—and even interviewed for a news feature on Lower Cape TV and a live radio interview with Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta.
In addition to raising the $2.1 million for the Community Center project, Heather also manages Latham’s annual fundraising campaign which incorporates annual appeals and special events, including the Latham Charity Golf Classic. She researches and writes grants for special programs and capital improvement projects, and works to establish and nurture our valued relationships in the community.
For Heather, there have been several “most memorable” moments at Latham, but one recent highlight stands out: “The day that I learned that long-time committed friends of Latham Centers had pledged $250,000 to Latham’s capital campaign as a challenge match ranks among the most memorable. A capital campaign is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires the hard-work, energy, and enthusiasm of our Board of Directors, staff, families, and community partners. It is incredibly rewarding and meaningful to know that Latham’s mission and the value of this project have resonated so deeply with these generous donors—and so many others as well.”
Heather’s work on Latham Centers’ Expanding Our Circle Capital Campaign has allowed her to get to know many Latham families and gain a new perspective. “I am a mother of three, and so I understand the complexities and challenges that come with the job of raising children. But I stand in awe of our Latham families. The decision to place your child in residential treatment is gut-wrenching. At Latham School, we treat children as young as nine years old. Many families, especially those with children who are diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), have exhausted every service and resource available to them before coming to Latham. PWS is a complex, life-threatening syndrome. Individuals with PWS require constant supervision. The children who come to Latham Centers are placed with us because they require an intense level of care to ensure their safety that families just cannot provide at home. These courageous, dedicated parents put their trust in our program, and it is so amazing to see the children in our program happy and thriving, making friends and achieving goals.” Heather said it has been her pleasure to get to know the parents and guardians and work side by side with them to raise funds for our Capital Campaign. “I cannot wait to see their children—our students and adult residents—playing, learning, singing, dancing, and exercising in the new Community Center.”
Last week’s public launch of the Capital Campaign was especially meaningful for Heather. “We have exceeded the half-way mark in this worthy fundraising project, so we took a moment to celebrate this milestone and thank those who helped us. So many people worked very hard and gave to the best of their ability to help us reach the half-way point. We are grateful to them for embracing this campaign during the quiet phase. We have a long way to go to get to our goal, but I hope that our community will see the importance of this initiative and help us to meet the $250,000 challenge match. I will continue to reach out to local businesses, vendors, private and family foundations, and residents of Brewster and neighboring towns to help us make this dream a reality. Gifts of any size are meaningful and appreciated, and I encourage anyone interested in learning about Latham Centers and the work we do to arrange a time to tour our Brewster campus and the Fire Museum property.”
Pictured above: Heather introduces The Latham Players at Latham Centers’ press conference January 24th at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster; Heather greets guests (in the background) at the Capital Campaign public launch, including (seated) Board member Amy Carroll and parents Paul and Christine Carroll; and senior staff member Lee Chamberlain.