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2023 YEAR IN REVIEW

Explore our remarkable journey in our 2023 Year in Review. Discover the impactful moments, achievements, and stories that defined our commitment to child well-being and mental health.

Jan 2023

KidsPeace receives $700,000 state grant for program for youth and adults at risk of or affected by gun violence in Lehigh Valley communities.

Lehigh County announces support for KidsPeace “walk-in assessments” program – will fund the assessments as well as case management for follow-up services for children and families who receive assessments.

FEB 2023

KidsPeace introduces new three-year strategic plan; Theme of “Reset/Refine/Re-imagine” reflects both the overarching goals of the organization and individual and departmental objectives through 2025. 

Volunteers send Valentine’s Day messages of Hope, Help and Healing to kids in PA residential treatment programs.

KidsPeace New England (Maine) hosts Community Mental Health Services Awareness Day at Graham Lake Campus, where state officials and legislators met with providers to discuss how the state can continue to lead in providing help to those in need.

KidsPeace education programs at Orchard Hills mark Black History Month; older students studying Black leaders fighting against historic and ongoing racism, while younger students learn about inventor Garrett Morgan, creator of the first traffic light (patented 100 years ago).

KidsPeace Foster Care in in Fayetteville (NC) hosts “Parents’ Night Out” where staff care for foster children to give foster parents a two-hour respite.

KidsPeace serves as a service site in Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley’s Volunteer Challenge; 15 Emmaus High School students work on redesign and planting of the Mary Stever Memorial Garden on the Orchard Hills Campus.

Lehigh Valley business leader Robert Oster joins KidsPeace Foundation Board of Trustees.

KidsPeace highlights ongoing medical education partnerships for psychiatry – medical school residency with St. Luke’s University Health Network, and fellowships with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

MAR 2023

KidsPeace Foster Care in Reading (PA) and IBHS program launch new “Autism-Focused Foster Care” program, with search for foster parents with experience and interest in caring for children on the autism spectrum.

KidsPeace CEO Mike Slack publishes guest column in Morning Call newspaper in response to news of expansion of mental health services by locally based health networks – noting that the development is welcome but does not address the fundamental issue of workforce shortages at service providers.

Following updates to the Bowdon campus’s power system, KidsPeace Georgia donates the massive original power generator (nicknamed “Goliath”) to the city of Bowdon.

The Web-based version of the 2021 KidsPeace Annual Report wins a Gold Award for Online/Interactive Media at the Lehigh Valley ADDY Awards – a competition featuring entries of marketing efforts across ALL industries.

 

KidsPeace Maine Education completes renovation of space at the education program location in Old Town.

Trey Carter named to KidsPeace National Board of Directors.

National Employee Appreciation Day is marked by KidsPeace with the annual Associate Appreciation T-Shirt Distribution. Specially designed T-shirts are given to all associates, and groups and departments are encouraged to wear the shirts on that day, take a picture and send in to be included in a photo album attached to the internal Week in Review email. 

APR 2023

For the second year, KidsPeace sponsors a “Mental Health Break” promotion at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Triple A baseball games.

KidsPeace associates and permanency specialists Amy Silfies and Nicole Gardecki named Permanency Teamwork Award recipients from Pennsylvania’s Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN).

KidsPeace’s foster care operations in Indiana and Virginia diversified into supervising visits between children and parents as referred by courts, child welfare services, private attorneys and by parents themselves who are involved in custody disputes.  This service is growing as the offices’ approach to and feedback from the visits are appreciated by all parties – strengthening our relationship with local referring courts and child welfare agencies.

MAY 2023

The KidsHaven program marks its 10-year anniversary.  Since its beginnings the shelter program has cared for more than 3,400 children in the charge of the federal government as unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.  As part of the commemoration, program leadership salutes clinician Emma Marrero and late-night youth care worker Samuel Rodriguez-Cruz – both of whom have worked at the program since it started.

The second annual KidsPeace Foster Care National Virtual Conference is held as part of observing National Foster Care Month.  During the event, Monique (Mo) Shoemaker of Muncy, PA is named the KidsPeace National Foster Parent of the Year.

KidsPeace Corporate Director of Clinical Services Dominick DiSalvo presents at NetSmart Connections 2023 user group meeting on how we are becoming a data-driven organization in the mental health space and how our use of technology contributes to meeting/exceeding our key performance indicator (KPI) goals.

KidsPeace dedicates public mural at Green Street Outpatient Clinic as part of hosting Community Day for the east Allentown neighborhood around the clinic.

KidsPeace Foster Care hosts 2nd annual “Foster Home Festival” at KidsPeace Berks campus in Temple.

JUN 2023

Hope Center for Youth and Family Crisis opens “behavioral health urgent care” (BHUC) facility in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.  Several hundred guests tour the facility and hear keynote remarks from North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Kody Kinsley.  Leaders from KidsPeace and partner Alliance Health present a vision for the operation that includes mobile crisis de-escalation and facility-based crisis services along with the BHUC concept. 

KidsPeace Foster Care in Maine opens new office in Lisbon Falls. 

Building on experience at the FCCP level, KidsPeace launches an organization-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee.

Gardening projects at KidsPeace Georgia and the Orchard Hills campus are integrated into treatment and education plans at the facilities.

3rd annual “Sunset Social” event kicks off fundraising for new sensory-sensitive playground at Orchard Hills.

KidsPeace’s Healing Magazine Spring/Summer edition published; spotlights barriers to mental healthcare in underserved communities and ways to overcome them. 

KidsPeace Foster Care in Chalfont (PA) receives Bucks Innovation and Improvement Grant (BIIG) to fund community engagement and social activities for foster youth and families.

JUL 2023

KidsPeace Foster Care in Bloomsburg (PA) receives grant to create mentoring program for youth approaching “aging out” of foster care.

KidsPeace celebrates National Ice Cream Month with “Ice Cream Days” at all locations.

AUG 2023

More than 165 associates and teams are nominated by colleagues for 2023 Associate Achievement Awards.

Foster care operations in New York and Indiana receive major state workforce developments grants for staff recruitment, retention and training, along with new program development and facility upgrades.

SEP 2023
KidsPeace Foundation announces award winners for 2023 from Foundation, Senior Leadership Team.  Meanwhile, “KidsPeace Stories” video series features 2022 award recipient Rob Scott and the mountain biking program he started for clients at Orchard Hills.

Hope Center unveils new promotional video, showcasing the facility and explaining its purpose for the community.

KidsPeace Foster Care in Fayetteville (NC) holds annual fundraising art auction; event raises nearly $50,000 for programs there. 

KidsPeace supporters Scott and Tricia Reines donate 26 ukuleles to music program for children in PA residential treatment.

OCT 2023

KidsPeace Foster Care in Bethlehem (PA) receives more than fifty handmade quilts for foster children from Coopersburg (PA) church through encouragement of board member Naomi Yergey.  

KidsPeace Central Region Board of Associates formed to support activities of KidsPeace Foster Care offices in Williamsport and Bloomsburg (PA).

KidsPeace Annual Associate Achievement Awards and Years of Service Coin Commemoration is combined into one recognition celebration; YOS coins are mailed in specially designed packaging to recipients’ homes, and award recipients are announced via Week in Review on October 13.  

NOV 2023

Programs at PA Residential officially designated as “trauma-sensitive” by state health authorities; recognition comes as programs meet ten distinct standards of care.

KidsPeace New England hosts Ellsworth (ME) Chamber of Commerce “Business After Hours” community event. 

Four associates join KidsPeace Lifetime Achievement group for those with more than 35 years of service to the organization.

KidsPeace Marketing and Hope Center exhibit at CrisisCon23, the first-ever national conference for providers of crisis-relates services.

2023 Associate Achievement Award and Years of Service Coin recipients are celebrated in a special video presentation streamed on KidsPeace’s YouTube channel. 
DEC 2023

Healing Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2023 edition published; Spotlight section focuses on the evolution of the mental healthcare workforce.

KidsPeace Marketing and Customer Relations named “Best Exhibitors” at annual Probation Association of New Jersey conference. 

“Angel Tree” gift drive ends with more than 1,400 gifts donated for children in Orchard Hills Campus programming and Bethlehem Foster Care. 

Jennifer Udvardi-Morris, program manager at KidsPeace Foster Care in Kingston (NY), authors guest column for Albany Times-Union newspaper on impact of staff turnover on the wellbeing of kids in child welfare programs; she calls on state legislators to do more in support of care workers.

KidsPeace annual end-of-year donation appeal features a child’s letter to Santa, asking for help for all the children in our Continuum of Care.

The KidsPeace internal newsletter Week in Review publishes its 200th edition to close the year; it includes a reprint of the very first “life hack” included in WiR, as a summing up of the lessons we seek to share to clients in care:

You cannot command the wind; you can only adjust your sails.

 

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