The D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s Difference

Photo credit Terry Johnston

Photo credit Terry Johnston

D.A. Blodgett – St.   John’s is different.

My first post explained that the best response our community can give to children and families in need is love. It is this belief that helps make DABSJ different. You make us different by providing a loving mentor to a young mother, special Easter Baskets for children on our residential campus, or even a loving temporary foster home.

These are the things you make possible.

Today, however, I would like to share with you another aspect of what makes DABSJ different: our dedicated staff.

I recently heard a story I just had to share with you. It’s about a seven-year-old girl named Amber that came to our KidsFirst Emergency shelter with many undiagnosed disabilities. She was nonverbal, suffered from seizures, had to wear a diaper, required 24 hour one on one care, and through this all was just one of 15 children staying at the shelter.

This isn’t a story about Amber though. This story is about Liz, a staff member at KidsFirst.

I heard about Amber and how her disabilities required a kind of care that KidsFirst does not see very often. But what I heard more was how everyone at Kids First noticed how Liz would treat Amber.

“When her needs were met, she would smile instantly.” Liz told me.

Liz’s memories of Amber don’t focus on her disabilities. Instead, she remembers asking all staff to make sure Amber and Liz wore matching Converse sneakers.

Amber became Liz’s “little buddy” and would go everywhere with her. Liz would put Amber in her Radio Flyer wagon and bring her around campus, listen to music with her, and just interact with a child who was used to being ignored and neglected.

The above photo came across my desk the other day.

During our playground build last year there were 250 volunteers on our grounds requiring all of our attention. Yet, in the midst of it all, Liz never forgot about Amber and her needs. The radio flyer wasn’t available that day, so Liz, not wanting Amber to miss out on the fun, picked her up and carried her.

That is the D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s difference.